State health officials announced Friday that all counties will begin playing by the same rules today when Blue Shield takes over the distribution of vaccines in California.
The patch of policies for the admissibility of vaccines against COVID-19, which vary from county to county, has deeply disappointed Californians. So government officials hired Blue Shield, one of the state’s largest health insurers, to streamline and manage vaccine distribution logistics to local health services and other vaccine providers.
The Blue Shield set out some details of how the new surveillance will work. Ten counties – eight in the Central Valley plus Imperial and Riverside – will go first. This means that Blue Shield will give recommendations to public health officials on how many doses should go to each of these counties and which providers should receive them.
Blue Shield CEO Paul Markovic said his recommendations on how many doses to distribute to each county would be based on priority groups at the state’s vaccination levels, as well as the state’s goals to ensure equity for disadvantaged communities.
All 58 counties are expected to go through the transition by the end of March. The most populated counties, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and San Bernardino, will be in the second wave, with most counties in the Gulf region in the third wave.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would upgrade its vaccine distribution system, acknowledging that the county’s fragmented approach was slow in the spread of vaccines. Blue Shield aims to simplify and speed up the process.
The state’s goal is to scale up to 4 million immunizations per week from the current 1.4 million per week.
“This is a high-stakes problem, and if something goes wrong, the return to the Newsom administration will be serious,” said Democratic political consultant Steve Mavillo, who was a spokesman for former Gov. Gray Davis. “The governor is betting on his destiny to activate this vaccination system. He is trying to find the best way to succeed. “
Markovic said switching takes time. To frustrated counties who may be afraid of losing control of vaccine distribution, he said, “Give us a chance to make this work.”
What will the new system mean for Californians waiting for vaccinations and sorting out confusing opportunities? Through this new system, civil servants have promised consistency in which eligibility appears to be the same in all counties and the distribution is moving at a similar pace across the country.
As counties move to the Blue Shield system, myturn.ca.gov and 1-833-422-4255 will become the main meeting planning routes. At the moment, meeting appointments look different in each county, with different websites and phone numbers, often confusing and frustrating residents.
As counties move to the Blue Shield system, myturn.ca.gov and 1-833-422-4255 will become the main meeting planning routes.
Public health officials have set general eligibility guidelines, but have allowed counties and health care providers the freedom to interpret them. Although it all started with vaccinating the highest priority health workers and residents of nursing homes, they soon parted ways.
Some counties have vaccinated people aged 75 and over. Others set the threshold at 65. Some rural districts quickly vaccinated their priority groups and began vaccinating teachers and other key workers, while some large urban districts maintained their focus on higher-risk older people. The city of Long Beach, which has its own health department, is ahead of most counties and already has vaccinated teachers.
As a result, a teacher working in one city may be immunized, while a teacher in a neighboring city or county may not – even if he teaches in person and not online.
California currently prioritizes health care workers, residents and long-term care staff, people aged 65 and over, educators, child care workers, food workers, farm workers and first responders. People with high-risk medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease will be eligible for vaccination by March 15, with a total of 17 million eligible Californians.
About 8.2 million doses have been administered since the start of COVID-19 vaccinations in December. About 15 percent of all Californians received at least one dose.
“The governor is betting on his destiny to activate this vaccination system. He is trying to find the best way to succeed. “
“Steve Mavillo, a democratic political consultant.”
At a news conference in Fresno, Newsom said California would receive 1.58 million doses next week. This distribution is expected to increase when the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available.
So far, Blue Shield has signed a contract with at least 30 suppliers who will receive shots. These include pharmacies, health systems and clinics, including Kaiser Permanente, OptumServe and Adventist Health.
Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of State for Government Operations, said California is on track to introduce about 3 million vaccines a week, although the biggest hurdle remains sufficient supply.
California’s Blue Shield deal raised some eyebrows, but the state cited the company’s experience in operations and logistics.
“Obviously the Blue Shield doesn’t start from scratch. They have the networks and the doctors, ‘said Mavillo.
CALmatters.org is a non-profit, non-partisan media company explaining California’s policies and policies.