Bay Area health departments, health care providers explain their plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Tuesday, January 5, 2021
What's the plan for getting you your vaccination?
How will Californians know when it's their turn to get a vaccination? Is there a plan in place? We investigate.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Many of those receiving the first round of the coronavirus vaccine shots actually work in the buildings where the shots are given. Pretty easy to notify them -- but what about the rest of us? How will we know when it is our turn?

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney asked on Facebook if anyone had heard from their health care provider.

RELATED: When can you get the COVID-19 vaccine? Find out where you are in line

No one said they had been contacted.

"Neither of my doctors actually have mentioned anything or even come close, really," Elie Nacarino told me. "No one, not even the staff have brought the subject up."

So, is there a plan to get you vaccinated? There is a widely debated and publicized list of which groups get to go when, but there is no centralized plan to let you know when you are next in line.

"The lack of planning is sad, really sad. We should be at a stage where we know more about these kinds of things right now," says Consumer Action's Linda Sherry. "Because of our national health system being so crazy and all over the place. I mean, we've got private insurers, public insurers, Medicaid, Medicare, et cetera. It's going to be an issue."

RELATED: Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine next in California? Here's who's included in phases 1A, 1B and 1C

7 On Your Side spot-checked local providers.

Stanford Health Care told us: "We do not have a waiting list or advanced appointments for patients to receive the vaccine."

Kaiser Permanente: "We expect to use our normal methods to provide information about vaccine eligibility and appointments."

Sutter Health wrote: "... notification of an individual or group's eligibility to receive a vaccine and how to access it, needs to come from Public Health, given their lead roles."

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom explains why COVID-19 vaccine rollout is slow going

So 7 On Your Side reached out to Bay Area health officials, and all said this is a work in progress. Among the responses:

  • Marin Health and Human Services says: "At this time there is no waiting list or appointment system in place..."
  • San Mateo County Health: "Healthcare providers will have a role of notifying their patients... we don't have details yet on how these processes will work..."
  • The Sonoma County Health Department says it is working with its health care partners "... to notify them when their turn in the distribution plan is up, and we will rely on the providers to notify their individual patients."

The California Department of Public Health says its recommendations are now working their way through the system and eventually to the governor for final approval.

Here is Linda Sherry's advice to all of us: "As we get into the new year, we need to really start paying close attention to what's going on with the vaccine so that we're not left out in the cold."

That means watching the websites for:

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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