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EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Newsom discusses vaccine distribution with News Channel 3

Governor Gavin Newsom visited the Coachella Valley Wednesday morning but made his next stop at Loma Linda University Health.

He held the Loma Linda site out as an example of university staff and students working together to get vaccinations into people's arms quickly and efficiently.

But the Loma Linda site, successful as it is, is dealing with a common problem that's also popping up in Riverside County and the rest of southern California. It's navigating a lack of vaccine supplies that are hampering efforts to save lives. The Governor says it could get worse in the months ahead.

"The challenge now is we are now literally administering more vaccines than we receive from the federal government every single week," Newsom said.

Students squeeze every drop from the COVID-19 supply vials getting an extra dose from most.

But the specialized super cold freezer there, to store the vaccine, is nearly empty. Only one container was inside the freezer when the Governor got a chance to see inside it.

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In a one-on-one interview with KESQ the Governor says the months of March and April could be rough due to vaccine supply shortages over the next five to six weeks.

"We're now in a process where we're literally 1.4 almost 1.5 million a week," Newsom said. "We're only receiving about 1.2 to 1.3 million doses a week."

Newsom expects the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to be a game-changer once its production is ramped up. Initial production runs are not expected to produce large numbers of vaccines for California.

"But boy, in the long run, the single dose, the ability to move quickly and rapidly in July and August," the Governor said, "A game changer."

In the meantime, the lines at Loma Linda and all of southern California remain long. Once supplies are delivered, the Governor promises our state will administer those doses faster than any other state can.

1,250 people a day are being vaccinated against the coronavirus at the Loma Linda site. The University is also conducting outreach efforts in collaboration with African American pastors to reach under-served communities.

Our cameras were there as the Governor toured the Loma Linda site, a converted basketball gymnasium, administered by the university's pharmacy school.

Both medical staff and advanced students are working together in administering shots.

Mirium Jimenez is one of many nursing students giving out shots while under the supervision of her professors. Respiratory Therapy students were also working this day, a unique workforce.

"What I love about this is the virtuous cycle of students giving back and having practical real experience at saving lives and encouraging people," Governor Newsom said.

The Governor also promised to look into allowing advanced students to be used elsewhere in administering vaccination doses. So far, the state Dental Board has not given its endorsement to the idea which would allow more people to deliver vaccines to the public.

Newsom is joined by local officials, including 1st District Congressman Pete Aguilar-- whose district includes Loma Linda and much of San Bernardino County.

Newsom also stopped by the Coachella Valley on Wednesday morning. He joined several local officials in a visit to a vaccination clinic in east Coachella Valley.

The governor praised the county's efforts to administer vaccines to farmworkers through mobile clinics.

Full Story: Governor Gavin Newsom, local leaders visit vaccine clinic in Coachella

https://youtu.be/jYG0_Hm0zDY

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California / Top Stories

Jeff Stahl

You can watch Jeff every weekday morning on News Channel 3 in the Morning and News Channel 3 at Noon. Learn more about Jeff here.

KESQ News Team

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