County hosts first mass vaccination event

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San Bernardino County completed its first mass vaccination event on Tuesday, delivering initial doses to 3,235 people — primarily residents aged 65 and over — and successfully signing them up for a follow-up shot on March 2.

The vaccination event was held at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. The speedway is also where people will return for their second dose.

County officials, who are expecting to receive another 21,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines next week, confirmed that their top priority now is administering the vaccines to residents aged 65 and over.

“The data are clear: the elderly are much more likely to require hospitalization and not survive COVID-19, so our focus now is on getting them inoculated as quickly as possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Tuesday’s event at the speedway not only resulted in more than 3,200 people getting vaccinated, it also served as a valuable learning experience for all of us.”

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Hagman noted that while the event triggered considerable traffic congestion around midday, the County was able to work with the Highway Patrol to make necessary adjustments.

“Though we experienced some hiccups, we responded quickly and ultimately were able to make significant progress toward vaccinating many of our most vulnerable residents,” he said.

County officials are also asking those who secure appointments to future events to adhere to the provided instructions, such as not arriving more than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointments.

“Arriving too early increases traffic congestion while having no impact on your ability to actually receive a vaccine,” Hagman said. “Our people are committed to staying as long as necessary to ensure everyone with an appointment receives a shot.”

Status of vaccinations through Phase 1A

The County has largely completed its vaccination of frontline health workers and others in Phase 1A of the vaccination distribution schedule. In addition, County firefighters and law enforcement personnel have all been afforded an opportunity to receive the vaccination.

The County has also authorized vaccinations for private school and public school teachers who are currently providing in-person instruction or who will be providing in-person instruction before the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Vaccination appointments for teachers who meet these criteria can only be made through their schools or school districts. Appointments for teachers cannot be made through the County website nor can they be made by calling the County’s COVID-19 hotline.

Private schools and public school districts will make arrangements with their local hospitals for these vaccinations. The County will supply these hospitals with the necessary doses.

“This process will ensure that eligible teachers will be served while reserving other appointment avenues for our senior population,” Hagman said.

The County will conduct more super-site events and stand up additional neighborhood vaccination clinics when supplies from the State become larger and more reliable. A list of all vaccine providers, along with links for setting an online appointment, can be found at Individuals having trouble with online registration can call the county’s information hotline at 909-387-3911 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to the County’s Public Health vaccination sites, hospitals, pharmacies and private physician practice partners, this week the State of California opened an OptumServe vaccine clinic at Ayala Park Community Center, 18313 Valley Blvd. in Bloomington that will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. OptumServe has a Helpline for people who need assistance making an appointment 1-877-218-0381 and the call center is open from Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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