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Understanding the next phases for COVID-19 vaccination in Riverside County

As of February 16th, 2021 Riverside County was vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B (Tier 1) in the COVID-19 distribution phases.

The state of California released updated COVID-19 vaccine allocation guidelines on February 13th. Phase 1B includes, food/agriculture workers, emergency services, education/childcare, and those 65 and older. This also explained that on March 15, as vaccine supply allows, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.

“We’re still following those tiers per the states guidelines,” said John Welsh, assisting public information officer for Riverside County. “If the state is saying, hey by march 15th, even if you haven’t assisted everybody in those other tiers, but we want you to target ages 16-64 with underlying health concerns then we would move towards that,” added Welsh.

County officials urge people, when the time comes, to go to their primary care physician to get the vaccine. “That person knows all about their medical history,” said Welsh. If you don't have a primary care you can still go to other locations, you will just need to bring proof of your underlying health condition.“The person probably doesn’t have to bring in reams of their medical records but it’s probably quite easy for them to bring some level of documentation of here's what i’m suffering from or here’s the condition that I have,” said Welsh.

Officials said there is no timeline in place for when exactly people in Phase 1B Tier 2 will be able to get their vaccines. “It’s an ever changing world that we are dealing with when we are rolling out this vaccination and we certainly know that there’s high demand and there isn’t a lot of dosage,” said Welsh.

In a press conference Tuesday unveiling a new vaccination site in Los Angeles, Governor Gavin Newsom expressed vaccine supply limitations. "We are administering, at least as of yesterday, an average of 201,000 doses a day. Do the math. Supply is the issue. That is the constraint," said Newsom. 

“Riverside county is, just like every public health entity, is following the guidance from the state,” said Walsh.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
Cough into your elbow or tissue.
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories
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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.

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