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Blue Shield to run California’s State Vaccine Network – what are the goals?

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TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21: A pharmacy technician prepares a dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to be administered to a patient at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center amid a surge of coronavirus patients on January 21, 2021 in Torrance, California. California has become the first state in the nation to record 3 million known COVID-19 infections. Los Angeles County reported more than 250 COVID-19 fatalities on January 21. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION)

More details are now public about California's plan to bring in a third-party to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine effort.

In the agreement between the state and Blue Shield of California, a series of goals is laid out, from the speed of administering doses to equity promises. Blue Shield "will build a statewide vaccine network to ensure the rapid delivery of current supply of the COVID19 vaccine to Californians, consistent with the Agency’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation
Guidelines."

California and Blue Shield are pushing for three million doses administered a week by March 3. By April 30, the goal is four million shots a week. These goals depend on supply and would require a large increase in doses shipped to California. To date, the state has administered 6,153,109 doses out of 8,059,425 received.

Blue Shield is in charge of developing, adjusting and managing a vaccine "allocation algorithm," which they will send to the California Government
Operations Agency. The agency will use that algorithm to distribute the vaccine to approved providers. Details on the algorithm are not included in the contract, but sections show it will be based on county population and equity factors.

Read the contract below:

Goals include:

Access: "Travel distance in time for a sufficiently healthy person to drive or be transported in a vehicle from their home to a place they can receive a vaccine." 95% of people:

  • Living in urban areas travel < 30 minutes
  • Living in rural areas travel < 60 minutes

Blue Shield is also contracted to work with the Operations Agency on bringing the vaccine to people who are homebound.

Equity: On the first day of every month, starting March 1, the state is promised a monthly goal for the percentage of vaccinations in the following groups:

  • "Agency-identified under-resourced or disproportionately impacted populations"
  • "People living in Healthy Places Index tracts that rank in the lowest quartile"

However, the contract writes that the State Vaccine Network is not going to be statewide to start. It will be established "in three geographical waves
and will be state-wide by the final wave." No information on who is in each wave, or when each wave starts, was released. The requirements are only for areas that are in the current "wave."

Like every other vaccine effort, goals are dependent on available vaccine doses and data.

According to Bloomberg's COVID-19 vaccine tracker, California ranks 33rd out of 50 U.S. states, using 76.3 percent of available doses (as of 2/15/21). California has administered 6,153,109 doses out of 8,059,425 received.

California News / Coronavirus / Top Stories
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Aaron Groff

Aaron Groff is an evening co-anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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