As of Tuesday, April 6, Riverside County will offer coronavirus vaccines to residents aged 16 and over, nine days before the state plans to do so, officials said Monday.
“Extending eligibility will allow the last large group of Riverside County adults to be vaccinated and will bring us one step closer to herd immunity,” County Public Health Director Kim Saruvatari said in a news release. “Giving the vaccine to a younger population, where we are seeing an increase in cases, is a big step forward.”
In the same issue, supervisor Karen Spiegel said: “More vaccines are now available and opening up the conditions will move us even further towards our goal of vaccinating the majority of our residents.”
Sixteen 17-year-olds who qualify for the Pfizer vaccine must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when they are assigned to the vaccine, the news release said. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for those 18 years of age and older.
In late March, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that those aged 16 and over would be able to be vaccinated across the country starting April 15. Californians aged 50 and over become eligible on April 1, and Riverside County allows people in certain occupations – grocery store workers and teachers, for example – to be vaccinated, in addition to people aged 16 and over with concomitant health conditions such as cancer or severe obesity that make them particularly vulnerable to serious illness or death from COVID-19.
Riverside County currently operates four vaccine clinics located at the Albert A. Chatigny S. Recreation Center in Beaumont; Tahquitz High School in Hemet, Heritage High School in Menifee and Valley Mall. The county also provides the vaccine to six community health centers run by its health system at Riverside University.
More than 1 million vaccine doses have already been administered in the county, which gave its millionth shot last Wednesday. As of Monday, 31.8% of residents in County 16 and over have been partially or fully vaccinated, with 17.4% fully vaccinated, according to Riverside University’s public health system.
To get a vaccine appointment, visit www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Those aged 65 and over who need help booking an appointment can call 211 or 951-329-4703. The current 211 waiting times are less than 5 minutes, according to the county.