California is expected to partner with Blue Shield to transition to a new coronavirus vaccine distribution program starting on Monday aimed at making the distribution and eligibility of the program more streamlined.
At the end of January, California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s partnership with Blue Shield. He said the cooperation was to ensure the speedy rollout of the vaccine and to be able to reach more people who needed the treatment.
Vaccine Distribution System
State officials hope to reach a milestone of four million vaccinations each week by the end of April.
“Our goal is to overcome this pandemic and save lives, and by working together with health care providers, local health jurisdictions, state public health officials, and others, we can accomplish that daunting task. As the federal government prepares to ramp up the availability of vaccines, we are aiming to build a provider network here in California that is only constrained by the number of vaccines we receive,” Blue Shield CEO Paul Markovich said.
The company will be responsible for coordinating with state health officials on how many doses of the coronavirus vaccine should be distributed to each county and which providers will handle the process. Authorities will base the recommendations on the state’s priority groups and officials’ focus on disadvantaged communities.
There are eight counties in the Central Valley that will be the firsts to transition to California’s new vaccine distribution system. The next areas to use the new process include Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Most of the counties in the Bay Area would have transitioned to the new system on March 14, when the third and final transition wave is scheduled.
Two Bay Area counties, Solano and Sonoma, will the first two in the region to use the new system after being included in the second wave. The two areas will start the new distribution system starting on March 7, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
By the end of March, all 58 counties across California would have transitioned to the new distribution system by the end of March. Currently, state officials are prioritizing health care workers, long-term care residents and staff, residents aged 65 or older, educators and child care workers, food and agricultural industry employees, and first responders with vaccination.
Officials will allow residents with high-risk medical conditions to get their vaccine shots starting on March 15. People who want to schedule appointments for vaccination can register at myturn.ca.gov.