Blythe's first COVID vaccination clinic held at PVHS

A mobile COVID vaccination clinic is being held in Blythe this week, Feb. 3-4, at the Palo Verde High School (PVHS) gymnasium for those with appointments, with registrations having begun on Monday for eligible area residents and employees.

(Note: The Times will continue to disseminate confirmed information on social media [facebook.com/blythenews] and online [pvvt.com] as officials’ updates related to Blythe COVID vaccination sites are made available.)

A mobile COVID vaccination clinic is being held in Blythe this week, Feb. 3-4, at the Palo Verde High School (PVHS) gymnasium for those with appointments, registrations of which began on Monday for eligible area residents and employees.

The Riverside University Health System–Public Health (RUHS-PH) mobile immunization unit – held in partnership with the City of Blythe, Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency (PVVTA), and Palo Verde Unified School District (PVUSD) – is Blythe’s first since the county began clinics for eligible persons in mid January.

“The vaccine is a turning point in this devastating pandemic, offering a very high level of protection for COVID-19,” stated Riverside County 4th District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “While it will take time to make the vaccine available to all in our county, I’m very pleased we will have a mobile vaccine clinic in Blythe this week to ensure vulnerable, at-risk senior citizens and workers in our Blythe community have access to this life-saving vaccination. In addition, I continue to work alongside our county departments with local providers to increase the number of vaccines for Blythe.”

As noted by coordinating officials, Blythe area residents (with appointment registrations) who are eligible for the vaccine clinic include senior citizens (65 years of age and above); grocery store workers; farmworkers; paramedics and EMTs; medical and community health workers; mortuary workers; and front-line workers in public safety, as well as education.

Currently, the Palo Verde Health Care District/Palo Verde Hospital (PVH) and Clinicas De Salud del Pueblo Inc. are the only two approved Blythe area COVID vaccine providers who were allocated a limited number of doses.

Supply, however, has been extremely limited or quickly tapped out given the overwhelming demand countywide.

Issues over previous technical difficulties related to the county and state websites for the first-come, first-served appointment registration process have led to public frustrations – particularly among the eligible seniors’ demographic.

The county’s 2-1-1 COVID information line – Spanish and English – has been further highlighted as a resource for seniors who need assistance with appointments via telephone.

Additionally, in an effort to boost access to one of the more vulnerable populations, RUHS-PH previously announced available vaccination clinic appointments specifically for those 85 years of age and older on Jan. 28; however, no 92225-specific locations were listed at the time.

As previously reported, plans for the special Blythe-based mobile vaccination clinic have been in the works since at least Jan. 22.

For Blythe’s Feb. 3-4 vaccination dates, up to 1,500 doses are expected to be administered (750 each day). Registration, proof of residence and/or employment is required for those with appointments.

PVVTA is slated to provide no-cost transportation service to those with confirmed appointments.

“First off, I’d like to thank everyone involved in getting this vaccination clinic for the citizens of Blythe and the Palo Verde Valley,” stated Blythe Mayor Dale Reynolds. “It’s been a long time coming, something our area has needed. I want to thank my fellow councilmembers, Palo Verde Hospital, and the coordination efforts that everyone has put together and discussed. Special thank you to the county public health and emergency management departments for their efforts in getting this clinic in Blythe. We look forward to seeing Public Health and the mobile vaccination clinic in Blythe this week!”

As of this publication’s deadline (Feb. 1), Riverside County has received 84.1% of its currently-allocated doses (received 204,375 of the allocated 243,025).

All told, as of Feb. 1, Riverside County has administered 176,875 doses of the 204,375 received – or, 86.54%.

For all available information, confirmed updates, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), future clinic dates/locations, and vaccine particulars, visit:

rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine

Amid the vaccines rollout, officials continue to urge the general public to practice public health and safety guidelines (i.e. face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, etc.) moving forward.

No cost is associated with the COVID-19 vaccine; as noted by RUHS-PH’s FAQ:

“No, the vaccines should be covered by public and private health insurance. For people without health insurance there will be no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Currently, both approved vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna – require two doses, with the first administered weeks apart from the second (at a minimum three and four weeks apart, respectively).

“For residents who received their first dose at one of our public health vaccine clinics, automatic emails will be sent when it is time to make an appointment for your second dose. You may make an appointment for a second dose at any location where you can secure a time, including at a doctor, pharmacy or urgent care clinic. The appointment does not have to be made precisely on the 21-day or 28-day mark. It can occur after, just not before,” states RUHS-PH’s FAQ. “Please note that if you received the Pfizer vaccine for your first dose, you must receive the Pfizer second dose. The same is true for the first Moderna vaccine. Check your vaccination card to see which vaccine you received. At the time of making your second appointment, inquire which vaccine is currently available. As we receive more vaccine, we anticipate that the appointment process will continue to streamline as we bring on more community vaccination partners and hold more vaccination clinics. If you have any questions as the time nears for a second dose, just let us know and we will be happy to find answers for you.”

For general inquiries related to COVID and/or the vaccine, the County of Riverside’s information line is 2-1-1.

Questions may also be sent to RUHS via email at: rivco.vaccines@ruhealth.org

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