A functional plan for COVID-19 vaccinations is needed yesterday [Opinion]

With COVID-19 cases soaring in California and Riverside County the new vaccines are in high demand. But like the former Trump administration, the County appears to lack a functional plan to distribute the vaccine in a reliable and timely manner.

Riverside County Health Department Director Kim Saruwatari is the official responsible for having a functional plan to distribute vaccines and ensuring staff and residents are getting vaccinated in accordance with the state’s plan.

However, some officials are questioning Saruwatari’s policies that require 75-year-olds to register online to make appointments to receive the vaccinations.

After completing a lengthy list of questions, online users are often just dropped and must resubmit the information only to be dropped yet again.

Saruwatari has established a 2-1-1  line for residents to call to set an appointment. However, some residents report getting a constant busy signal or they receive a hang up on the other end.

Vaccines are in limited supply. Reports show that appointments being unavailable within just 45 minutes of lines opening up to accept appointments.

President Joe Biden hopes to have 100 million Americans vaccinated within his first 100 days in office. To achieve that he will need to ensure that once the vaccines are in health officials’ hands they have a better system to schedule vaccinations than the one here in Riverside County.

Improvements to the 2-1-1 system and the online appointments system must be made in short order.

As the pandemic is devastating California and Riverside County, residents expect delays in receiving vaccinations. What they will not tolerate is bureaucratic bungling and poor planning. Residents deserve a functional plan.

Officials responsible for the vaccination plan have had months to prepare to have a functioning online and 2-1-1 program.  Lives hang in the balance.

Given the Coachella Valley had the county’s first case of COVID-19 at Eisenhower Health last March and so many residents have been stricken and died of the disease. A functional plan is needed yesterday.

Director Kim Saruwatari and her team at the Public Health Department are responsible for the current plan and must make the system work for those seeking vaccinations. The sooner she and her staff make improvements the better off residents will be.

Image Sources

  • COVID Vaccination: Pixaby