Riverside County is making 10,000 more appointments available starting at noon Saturday, Jan. 23, for upcoming coronavirus vaccination clinics in Corona, Menifee, Beaumont and Indio, officials said Friday, Jan. 22. The announcement comes amid ongoing public anger over a glitch-filled online appointment sign-up system. While the county is switching websites in an effort to make the process smoother, the new website will still rely on a state registration portal that’s left many residents furious after filling out online forms only to find there’s no appointments to be had. The upcoming clinics will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday, Jan. 25, through Friday, Jan. 29, at the following locations: The clinics on Mondays and Fridays are only open to seniors. Appointment sign-ups for the clinics can be made at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine starting at noon Saturday. Residents 65 and older who need help registering can call 211. The vaccines are free, but those getting them must register prior to arrival, have an appointment and show proof of eligibility. Health insurance information will be requested, but not required. Riverside County is currently offering vaccines to residents 65 and older; health care workers, law enforcement, first responders and food and agriculture workers. While an estimated 700,000 county residents are eligible to be vaccinated, the county has received just 157,775 doses, county spokeswoman Brooke Federico said Friday. Since launching online vaccine sign-ups last week, Riverside County has seen overwhelming demand for very limited vaccine supplies. It took just 32 minutes Thursday, Jan. 21, before all 3,900 available appointments at six weekend clinics in Lake Elsinore, Perris and Indio were claimed. After the appointment window opened, county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser tweeted that the county was “aware that some of our residents are having difficulty accessing the vaccination appointments on our website … Keep refreshing your screen.” We are aware that some of our residents are having difficulty accessing the vaccination appointments on our website. Our IT team is addressing the issue. Keep refreshing your screen. #RivCoNOW #RUHealth — Dr. Cameron Kaiser (@RivCoDoc) January 21, 2021 Thursday evening, county officials said “ a technical issue in the website code” popped up when the appointment window opened. While the county promised a new website, officials said it will sill connect to the state’s vaccine registration portal and that “if all appointments are booked when completing the state’s registration, users will not be able to secure a time.” In an email Friday, Federico said there were two main issues. First, the county’s website didn’t “perform as required” Thursday, she said, adding that the new site will solve that. Second, the county’s site links to the state’s, which “requires residents to enter personal information before securing a timeslot.” That led to many filling out online forms before learning “there were no more available times,” Federico said. “Simply, the state system is not designed like Ticketmaster,” she said, adding that county officials have raised the concern with the state. “If the county were to use a different registration system, it would create a duplicate and burdensome process that would slow down the county’s efforts to administer as much vaccine as quickly as possible.” In an email to Riverside County supervisors and other leaders, Temecula resident Julie Edmunds detailed her frustration trying to get appointments for a colleague’s mother and her sister-in-law’s grandparents. After using six computers, two phones and nine internet browsers, Edmunds and her colleague got three appointments, only to see them canceled with no opportunity to reschedule, wrote Edmunds. She managed to get the first dose of vaccine along with her husband as both work for a school district. “These are vaccines (and) not concert tickets or camping reservations,” Edmunds wrote. “ … While I am happy to help every eligible person I know get appointments, what happens to the elderly people who have no one to help them? … How are we as a county relying on a system that by its very nature excludes the people who need the vaccine the most?” The county’s 211 number helps seniors and those without Internet access get an appointment, although residents have complained about not being able to get through to that number.
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