San Bernardino County has surpassed 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, a milestone reached Monday, Feb. 21, that indicates a continuing effort to immunize as many people as possible living in the largest county in the United States.
The 3,001,777 doses of the vaccine administered through Monday includes first shots, second shots and boosters put into arms of people within the county’s boundaries at county clinics, pop-up sites, pharmacies, private physician practices and healthcare organizations, county spokesperson David Wert said in an emailed response.
“Very cool,” reacted Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman, who chairs the Board of Supervisors. “I am excited we are moving in the right direction.”
Despite the milestone for doses administered, the county has long way to go when it comes to vaccination rates among residents.
The number of San Bernardino County residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine is 1,337,191. Of those, 1,213,545 are fully vaccinated.
The percentage of eligible San Bernardino County residents — those 5 years or older — with at least one dose is 65.1%, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. The county’s vaccination coverage is the lowest among the four counties in Southern California. In the same category, Los Angeles County is at 83%; Orange at 81.9%; Riverside at 68.2%; and San Diego at 99%. The state overall is at 81.2%.
The number of doses given Jan. 21 in the county during the height of the omicron variant surge equaled 8,494. Since then, as confirmed cases dropped and the surge receded, so did vaccine doses administered. On Monday, about 2,143 shots were given, state data shows.
“We hope we have seen the final chapter going forward,” Hagman said Tuesday. “But we need to keep our guard up. I am definitely in favor of making it easy for people to get the vaccine and have that availability to get the vaccine out into the largest county in the United States.”
Why does San Bernardino County fall so far behind other counties?
Limited access by people who can’t get time off work, combined with misinformation by various sources, is affecting the county’s vaccination rate, said Richard M. Carpiano, a UC Riverside professor researching public health and the pandemic.
“First, kudos to San Bernardino for getting to 3 million, particularly with the challenges they’ve been facing. Hats off to their public health department,” he said Tuesday.
Information on vaccines and more recently, on wearing face masks, have become polarized as those who oppose mandates focus on freedom of choice, Carpiano said. Also, San Bernardino and Riverside counties have a more conservative demographic than Los Angeles and San Diego counties, he said.
“There is a circulation of misinformation or disinformation where a person is pushing bad talking points,” Carpiano said. “People in the anti-vaccine movement are pushing a pseudo-science. There are lots of different ways people get bad information and that has created certain challenges.”
Finally, Americans are still learning about infectious diseases, including the behavior of highly contagious viruses, a phenomenon brought to the forefront in March 2020 with the start of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
San Bernardino County reported 198 new cases Tuesday, down from 1,626 exactly one week ago. The 23 deaths reported Tuesday, however, is up from nine a week ago.
COVID-19 vaccine information
San Bernardino County: sbcovid19.com/vaccine
Riverside County: www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine
Los Angeles County: www.VaccinateLACounty.com
Orange County: occovid19.ochealthinfo.com