County Leadership Decries Lag In COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Locally

By Curt Hagman Chairman, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and Dawn Rowe, Vice Chairwoman
San Bernardino County has been the standard-bearer for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to our residents and has used more than 97% of the doses we have received from the state, while many other counties struggle to use more than 85%.
Despite our vaccination efficiency, fewer doses are provided to our county relative to other counties that end each week with vials stacked up in freezers.
We estimate this disparity has resulted in 65,000 senior citizens and teachers in our county who want vaccinations but are unable to access them. Meanwhile, truckloads of vaccines roll past our region on their way to other destinations throughout the state. This is concerning as California will soon open another tier in their vaccination roadmap that will make thousands of our county’s sick and disabled residents eligible for vaccination.
As of Feb. 16, the county received 255,150 doses and administered 191,186 with plans to administer another 57,147 doses by the end of the week. That would bring us to 97.3% administered out of our total doses allocated.
San Bernardino County accounts for 5.53% of the state’s population, yet as of Feb. 2, received only 4.33% of the doses allocated statewide. Had we received doses based on our fair share of the state’s population, we would have received an additional 51,813 doses.
The disparity continues to this day, and the gap has now grown to 65,000 doses.
More troubling is the fact that these inequities don’t include our county losing out on thousands of additional doses allocated to “Federally Qualified Health Centers” in Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, and at least 22 other counties.
The county was told that the state’s criteria for selecting these centers for additional doses included service to a significant number of people experiencing homeless, residents of public housing, people with limited English proficiency, and large aging populations, along with the capacity to provide staffing and vaccine storage.
All four of our county-owned federally qualified health centers meet that criteria, as well as a vast majority of the centers represented by the Community Health Association Inland Southern Region.
We urge our state and federal partners to distribute vaccines in accordance with population and need and to place an emphasis on transparency and collaboration on all matters related to COVID-19.

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