Sutter Health cancels 30,000 2nd vaccine dose appointments due to California's supply shortage

Stephanie Sierra Image
Friday, March 5, 2021
Sutter Health cancels 30K vaccine appointments due to CA backlog
After four weeks of urgent requests for more vaccine, the state has committed 60,000 doses to Sutter Health set to arrive over the next two weeks, the company confirmed Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After four weeks of urgent requests for more vaccine, the state has committed 60,000 doses to Sutter Health set to arrive over the next two weeks, the company confirmed Thursday.

ABC7 confirmed the first shipment of 30,000 doses is scheduled to arrive Tuesday or by mid next week. The following week another 30,000 doses will arrive. The allotment only enough to cover two-thirds of the current backlog.

Blue Shield confirmed the preliminary plan with the company just days after Sutter reported more than 90,000 appointments could be canceled. According to Sutter, the cancellations stemmed from lingering supply issues and miscommunication from the state. The healthcare system claimed the state misinterpreted their supply of first and second doses.

"All of our healthcare providers, counties across the state, are all feeling the need for greater transparency within in the process," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

Supervisor Chavez says the same problem is impacting Santa Clara County. She's concerned the delay is tied to Blue Shield's transition.

"We received much less vaccine as a county and we were just notified of that today," Chavez said. "The challenge is we are notified of this information a week before we are planning for the next week."

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

ABC7 reached out to Santa Clara County for an update on the dose allocation, but are waiting to hear back.

After a call with Blue Shield Tuesday night, San Mateo County didn't get any clarity as to how their vaccine dose allotment will change and if that will impact operations at the county's two mass vaccination sites.

"Candidly, it was very puzzling," said Assem. Kevin Mullin. "You would hope that the vaccine supply would match up with the footprints that these different healthcare providers in our state had and there would be a proportional allocation."

Assem. Mullin is concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding Blue Shield's algorithm and how it will be impacting dose amounts to counties.

EXCLUSIVE: Blue Shield CEO explains plan to increase CA's vaccine doses to 4M per week

Blue Shield plans to increase California's capacity for delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from 1 million doses per week to 4 million doses per week.

"There will definitely be an audit after the fact on what didn't work in terms of the vaccine distribution beyond the very obvious supply issues," Mullin said. "Especially, the coordination among the different entities."

ABC7 reached out to the California Dept. of Public Health for further comment on Sutter Health's dose allocation. We received the following response:

"Every county, every state, every country wishes they had more vaccines and it's constrained by manufacturing, but California continues to work closely with the Biden administration to increase supply for providers statewide."

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente tells ABC7 the state has increased their vaccine supply, but wouldn't release any specific numbers. The state hasn't provided Kaiser with an update on when the Johnson and Johnson's vaccine supply will arrive but indicated when it does it will be limited.

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