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Coachella Valley first responders benefit from surplus vaccine doses at JFK Hospital

01072021 rivco vax


Indio Police Chief Mike Washburn received the Covid-19 vaccine Friday at JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio.

The Chief was among the first of the first responders who lined up.

"JFK has been fantastic in fact our couple of officers were actually in the E.R. with one of their clients and a couple of nurses said we have the vaccine ready to do, do you want it?" said Washburn.

The vaccinations were made possible after hospital officials determined they had surplus shots, after most of the staff at JFK received the first round of the vaccine over the past 3 weeks.

The extra shots were originally ordered for staff who chose not to receive vaccinations.

"The JFK staff and myself are so thrilled to be involved to be able to bring this to the front line first responders," said hospital CEO Gary Honts.

Honts tells us after realizing they were left with extra vaccinations, they had to first contact Riverside County public health officials to get authorization to offer the shots to area first responders.

Honts says the county is now directing other hospitals to also offer surplus vaccines from the first round distributed to *their local first responders.

The CEO tells us of the roughly 800 staff at JFK about 75 percent have already received the vaccination.

Robert Povomero is a Correctional Sergeant who works in close contact with jail inmates in Banning and doesn't have any reservations with receiving the vaccine.

"I've spent 20 years in the military. I've had every shot you can think of including the anthrax vaccine. I'm not concerned at all," said Povomero.

Firefighters were also among those vaccinated.

The first responders received the first round of the vaccine.

They will return for second round shots in about three weeks.


The effort to vaccinate Coachella Valley's frontline medical workers continues Friday. JFK Memorial Hospital officials say they had extra doses available as they finished up the first round of inoculations for hospital staff.

They opened up a room in their Indio facility to vaccinate first responders from the area.

Hospital officials say they hope to vaccinate about 150 people Friday.

First responders who would like an appointment today for the vaccine can call 760-347- 6191.

News Channel 3 will have a live report on News Channel 3 at Noon.

When can I get vaccinated?

Here are the vaccine allocation guidelines from the California Department of Public Health. Click here to find out your place in line.

Phase 1A

About 3 million people

  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care residents

See CDPH Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a.

Phase 1B

1B Tier One:

  • Individuals 75 and older
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture

1B Tier Two:

  • Individuals 65 -74 years of age
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated and homeless

Phase 1C

  • Individuals 50 -64 years of age
  • People 16-64 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations / community-based essential functions

For more information visit:

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

Coronavirus / Top Stories

Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.


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