The brand new system, operated Blue Protect, goals to streamline a complicated county--county patchwork of vaccination efforts. “Give us an opportunity to make this work,” Blue Protect’s CEO mentioned.
State well being officers introduced at the moment that each one counties will begin taking part in the identical rulebook on Monday, when Blue Protect will take over distribution of vaccines in California.
A patchwork of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility insurance policies that differ from county to county has deeply pissed off Californians. So state officers employed Blue Protect, one of many state’s largest well being insurers, to streamline and handle the logistics of allocating vaccines to native well being departments and different vaccine suppliers.
Blue Protect at the moment spelled out a few of the particulars of how the brand new oversight will work. Ten counties — eight within the Central Valley plus Imperial and Riverside — will go first. Which means Blue Protect will make suggestions to state well being officers on what number of doses ought to go to every of these counties, and which suppliers ought to get them.
Blue Protect CEO Paul Markovich mentioned that its suggestions for the way a lot to distribute doses to every county will probably be primarily based on precedence teams within the state’s vaccination tiers in addition to the state’s targets to supply fairness for deprived communities.
All 58 counties are anticipated to undergo the transition the top of March. Essentially the most populated counties, together with Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and San Bernardino, will probably be within the second wave, with most Bay Space counties within the third wave.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced that the state would revamp its vaccine distribution system, acknowledging that the fragmented, county--county method was gradual in getting vaccines to the general public. Blue Protect is tasked with simplifying and rushing the method up.
The state’s aim is to scale as much as four million immunizations per week, up from the present 1.four million per week.
“It’s a excessive stakes subject, and if one thing goes flawed, the blowback to the Newsom administration could be extreme,” mentioned Democratic political advisor Steve Maviglio, who served as press secretary to former Governor Grey Davis. “The governor has staked his fortunes on making this vaccination system work. He’s looking for one of the simplest ways to make this a hit.”
Markovich mentioned making the change takes time. To pissed off counties which will concern shedding management of vaccine distribution, he mentioned, “Give us an opportunity to make this work.”
What’s going to the brand new system imply to Californians ready for a vaccination and sorting way of complicated choices? Via this new system, state officers have promised consistency, the place eligibility seems to be the identical in all counties and distribution strikes at the same tempo all through the state.
As counties transfer to the Blue Protect system, myturn.ca.gov and 1-833-422-4255 will turn into the principle routes for scheduling appointments. At present, signing up for appointments seems to be totally different in every county, with totally different web sites and telephone numbers, typically complicated and irritating residents.
State public well being officers have set basic eligibility tips however allowed counties and well being suppliers some leeway in deciphering them. Whereas all began vaccinating the highest-priority well being care staff and nursing dwelling residents, they quickly diverged.
Some counties vaccinated individuals 75 and older. Others set the brink at 65 years. Some rural counties shortly vaccinated their precedence teams and began vaccinating lecturers and different important staff, whereas some massive, city counties stored the deal with higher-risk seniors. The town of Lengthy Seashore, which has its personal well being division, moved forward of most counties and already has vaccinated lecturers.
Because of this, a instructor working in a single metropolis is perhaps immunized, whereas a instructor within the neighboring metropolis or county may not -— even when they’re educating in individual moderately than on-line.
California presently prioritizes well being care staff, long-term care residents and workers, individuals 65 and older, educators, youngster care staff, meals business workers, farmworkers and first responders. Folks with high-risk medical situations akin to most cancers and coronary heart illness will turn into eligible for vaccination beginning on March 15, bringing the full variety of eligible Californians to between 17 and 19 million.
At a press convention in Fresno at the moment, Newsom mentioned California would obtain 1.58 million doses subsequent week. That allocation is predicted to develop when the only dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes on line.
Thus far, Blue Protect has contracted with not less than 30 suppliers who will probably be getting photographs into arms. These embrace pharmacies, well being programs and clinics, together with Kaiser Permanente, OptumServe and Adventist Well being.
Yolanda Richardson, the state’s secretary of Authorities Operations, mentioned California is on monitor to quickly administer about three million vaccines per week, though the most important impediment continues to be enough provide.
California’s deal with Blue Protect raised some eyebrows, however the state cited the corporate’s expertise in operations and logistics.
“Clearly Blue Protect (is) not ranging from floor zero. They’ve the networks and the docs,” Maviglio mentioned.