Sutter Health could cancel up to 90K vaccine appointments due to supply issues

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Sutter Health could cancel up to 90,000 vaccine appointments across Northern California this week due to ongoing supply issues over the past few weeks, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The cancellations include both first and second dose appointments - a majority of which are impacting members in the Bay Area. Sutter Health confirms second dose cancellations will receive priority for rescheduling.

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It's the last thing 80-year-old Sean Sheik wanted to hear.

"We need to reschedule you," said Sheik.

Sutter Health suddenly canceled his second dose vaccine appointment scheduled Tuesday morning - giving no opportunity to reschedule.

After showing up to the Sutter Health clinic in Santa Clara County, Sheik received a flyer and was told there weren't enough vaccines.

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Aside from Santa Clara, viewers are reporting the same issues in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Alameda counties. One writing: "Checked on site, says all doses canceled until further notice."

Sutter Health confirmed more than 90,000 first and second dose appointments could be canceled due to a delay of shipments stemming from bad weather to miscommunication from the state.

"We have been urgently requesting the additional allocations we need from the state in order to prevent canceling the more than 90,000 second dose vaccination appointments currently on our books," said Monique Smith, with Sutter Health Communications. "This is an extremely unfortunate situation for our patients, and one that is avoidable if we can get additional vaccine supply."

Sutter added they are urgently requesting more doses from the state and Blue Shield, claiming the state misunderstood their "inventory of first and second doses."

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"The data from Sutter Health was not getting cleanly through to the state and so the state had believed for multiple weeks that Sutter had a large inventory of doses but that wasn't true," said Blue Shield CEO Paul Markovich.

He denies the company's transition is contributing to this delay, but says the first incoming batch of doses for Sutter will arrive by early next week.

"We are going to be putting a lot more doses towards Sutter in the next couple of weeks so they can reschedule those appointments as oppose to cancel them," said Markovich.

Blue Shield's CEO added Sutter's situation is why all providers should be linked on a performance management system in order to keep an accurate inventory count.

So immunocompromised essential workers like Shiek aren't left waiting.

"We all go to work with a lot of fear, it's quite a setback," said Shiek.

ABC7 News reached out to the California Department of Public Health for an explanation, but have yet to hear back.


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