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Unpredictable vaccine supply, increased demand challenge county health officials

PEREZ WEB

County health officials say the demand for the coronavirus vaccine is far outpacing the supply in a virtual meeting hosted by Supervisor Manuel Perez.

FULL MEETING BELOW:

News Channel 3’s Dani Romero learned more about the challenges the county is facing now.

“Demand far exceeds supply," said Dr. Kim Saruwatari, Director of Public Health for Riverside County.

The demand Dr. Kim Saruwatari is talking about is for the COVID-19 vaccine and all doses on hand will soon be out. 

“As of right now, we have 14,346 doses in our hands as public health and that is just enough to get through the vaccine clinics we have planned Sunday," said Dr. Saruwatari.

But the challenges continue, now that people 65 years and older can get the vaccine. 

“It's important to stress that the eligibility increase has not come with an increase in the supply chain," said Juan Perez, Interim County Executive Officer for Riverside County.

What about our seniors who live in long term care facilities? 

“I can’t say that we have really have a strong plan on how to do this it is on our radar," said Dr. Saruwatari. "We are trying to work through it as best way to reach these folks and make vaccine available.” 

Another vulnerable group, farmer workers. 

“We definitely want to start the farm workers next week," said Dr. Saruwatari. "So we historically receive a shipment a week  so we do anticipate we will get additional vaccine.” 

Plans are still being made but could include mobile teams at grower sites. 

The county also made changes after complaints about the website and senior hotline. 

“We have added additional resources to 211 to cutdown on that timeframe," said Brooke Federico, Riverside County Public Information Officer.  

County health officials say the number of vaccine doses received on the website is under representative of people who have actually been vaccinated due to under reporting and delays. 

MORE: High demand for limited appointments as Riverside County coronavirus vaccination clinics expand eligibility

Check Out: See inside COVID-19 unit at Eisenhower Health as hospital sees a surge in patients

MORE: Riverside County reports record-breaking 92 COVID deaths in 24 hour period

How to get tested

Remember, you can get tested even if you do not have symptoms. Testing is available to all county residents.

You are now able to get a free test at many Rite-Aids in the area. Click here for a full list of stores and to schedule your appointment.

Click here to find the closest testing site to you

Find County Testing Sites

FREE TESTING IN CATHEDRAL CITY THIS WEEK:

Beginning on Monday, January 11th through Friday, January 15th from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, the public can get free COVID-19 testing in Cathedral City at Northgate Church located at 30010 Date Palm Drive.  Testing location will be available via appointment at www.LHI.care/covidtesting or by telephone at (888) 634-1123

Walk-ups will be served if a scheduled slot is a no-show or time permits.  To save time, the organizers highly recommend making an appointment via the website. 

Stay up-to-date with the latest local coronavirus news, including reopenings and closing, new case data, live news conferences, and other updates at KESQ.com/Coronavirus or download the News Channel 3 app on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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Dani Romero

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