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I-Team: Was Riverside County ready for vaccine distribution?

Riverside County and the State of California are making a number of changes to vaccine distribution after a number of problems were discovered with the initial rollout.

Geoffrey Leung, M.D. of Riverside University Health still believes the county is doing okay.

"So, we think Riverside County has been doing well with the rollout," Leung says.

He assessed the county's efforts last Friday, one day after thousands complained about constant error messages trying to get an appointment.

Over the weekend, the same thing happened to users who were left frustrated.

The latest time, the county blamed the problem on the state's system.

County Supervisor Manuel Perez admits, "We've had some technical issues, that's for sure."

California is now revamping its site and promising a more streamlined sign-up process for vaccinations sometime soon.

There were also problems with the county's vaccination distribution sites initially.

People faced very long lines.

Dr. Leung says the plans for those sites have been in the works for a long time.

But, a news release announced the activation on January 12, of Riverside County's Type III All-Hazzard Incident Management Team(IMT) to help coordinate those sites called PODS or "point of distribution sites."

The same release indicates planning didn't begin until January 7, 2021.

Unified Incident Commander Division Chief Todd Hopkins confirmed when asked that he was not personally involved in any planning on vaccination sites until that time.

The IMT is on the job now, working out some of the problems.

A clinic Monday at the county fairgrounds in Indio had at least three personal on site from the IMT and there was little to no waiting.

The county is now identifying additional vaccination sites like the Palm Springs Convention Center that could be up and running next week.

The numbers show Riverside County may still be struggling with getting vaccines administered.

As of Tuesday, the county reported it had received nearly 192,000 doses.

But, only a little under 110,000 had been administered.

Perez blames that on a lack of reporting from private providers.

He also said it needed to improve or the county would risk being passed over for additional allotments if it can't demonstrate that the vaccines are being used as soon as they are received.

The supervisor went on to say that transparency will be a big key in earning and then keeping the trust of the community.

The county insists that despite the numbers, doses are still being used within two to three days of being received.

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John White

John White anchors News Channel 3 Live at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.on KESQ-TV and CBS Local 2. Learn more about John here.

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