Riverside County will now schedule patients a second vaccine appointment

Riverside County will now schedule patients a second vaccine appointment

Olivia Sandusky

Every day Marcella Marino reaches out to Riverside County’s Public Health Department for answers.

She’s a health care worker at Gustafson Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine trying to secure a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

“I go on the website, that crashes, I‘m online for hours, it’s frustrating taking all this time to get our second dose. When you go to a pharmacy or hospital when they give you your first dose, they automatically schedule your second dose,” said Marino. 

But just this week, the county announced they’re making changes to the system.

Now people due for a second shot will be contacted with an appointment date.

“It won’t be, okay, it’s now open you’ve got to go hunt for yourself. There will be a specific appointment for you when you do get contacted,” said Jose Arballo Jr., a public information officer with the Riverside County Department of Public Health. 

The county will reach out by email or phone call.

But after Riverside County’s health director tweeted that limited supply may lead to delayed vaccinations, several valley residents expressed frustration.

Many also said they’re concerned about being protected after the 21 or 28 days window passes.

“Is the efficacy still the same if we wait 42 days if we’re not able to get it does it lessen?” asked Marino.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the second shot may be administered up to six weeks after the first.

And county staff says vaccine efficacy won’t decline while you wait.

“The strength of the vaccine doesn’t go away in that short of a period, remember the 21 and 28 day was the soonest you can get the second one, but the effectiveness of the first vaccine carries on much longer than that,” said Arballo Jr. 

And while there’s concern over the second shot, officials want residents in the current tier to get vaccinated with at least one dose.

But in the meantime, healthcare workers like Marcella are running out of patience.

“It’s an hour and 36 minutes now that I’ve been on hold. But I’ll update you if I somebody does answer and I get some kind of response,” said Marino.

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