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Blue Shield's COVID-19 Vaccine Plan: More, Faster, And Fairer

A pharmacist at UCI HEalth Center preps the COVID-19 vaccine. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Blue Shield plans to significantly ramp up the distribution of vaccines across California as it takes over running the operation, according to its contract with the state. The effort will include monthly goals for vaccinating “under-resourced or disproportionately impacted populations.”

Blue Shield agreed to create an algorithm to determine where to allocate vaccine doses based on equity and other factors, as well as to centralize vaccination data.

Of course, drastically scaling up the number of daily doses will largely depend on the supply sent to the state.

The highlights:

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  • Making vaccines accessible. For 95% of those living in urban areas that means a “sufficiently healthy person” being able to drive (or be driven to) a vaccine site in under 30 minutes. In rural areas the trip would be under 60 minutes
  • Vaccinating 3 million people per week by March 1 and 4 million people per week by April 30, supply permitting
  • Having providers administer 95% of doses within one week of receipt
  • Establishing in March a monthly vaccination goal for underserved populations

Kaiser Permanente is expected to sign a separate contract with the state to run a vaccination program for its 9 million members (and non-members) that will include overseeing two or more mass vaccination sites and helping to vaccinate "hard-to-reach and disproportionately impacted populations," according to a letter of intent released Jan. 29. Kaiser may also participate in Blue Shield’s network, according to the Blue Shield contract.

Both companies have agreed that they will run the programs at or near cost and "will not profit," according to the letters of intent. California will pay Blue Shield no more than $15 million during the term of the contract for costs.

My Turn will remain the state’s vaccine portal for residents to sign up for appointments and notification on when they qualify.

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