Seven Bay Area counties have finally reached an agreement with California officials on Wednesday over COVID-19 vaccine distribution guidelines with the help of Blue Shield.
The deal comes after weeks of arguments between counties and the state’s proposal of leaving Blue Shield in charge of vaccine distribution in the region. The seven counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Clara.
Vaccine Distribution Plan
The agreement would have individual counties prioritize groups and organizations in their vaccination efforts instead of requiring individual clinics to get doses from the state directly.
“If (community clinics) all had to end up signing an agreement on their own, it would be a bunch of silos, and if you can picture a bunch of silos without having any communication across these providers, then everybody would’ve been on their own,” Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer Marty Fenstersheib said.
The proposal also allows Santa Clara County to continue its individual effort of implementing a vaccine appointment system. The agreement gives a fair distribution of vaccine doses to community health providers across the region, county officials said.
“We look at data from a census tract perspective as opposed to just zip codes and this allows us to really respond quickly,” Chief Executive Officer of the Community Health Partnership Dolores Alvarado said.
Santa Clara County officials have seen limited first-dose appointments in recent weeks due to a lack of supply of vaccine from the state. They said they hope there would be more doses distributed to the county by mid-April as they are prepared to administer the treatment efficiently.
“This new process will create the flexibility we need to make sure that we get every person in our community access to a vaccine quickly and safely,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said, ABC7 News reported.
California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced in January that the goal of the partnership with Blue Shield was to speed up the vaccination process across the region. Officials from Blue Shield said they are planning to increase the state’s delivery capacity for the COVID-19 vaccine from one million doses per week to four million doses per week by the end of May.