SF-based One Medical let ineligible people get COVID vaccines

San Francisco-based One Medical has terminated several employees after it was discovered they reportedly allowed ineligible patients to get vaccinated.

Video Transcript

- That's right, [INAUDIBLE], One Medical tells ABC that they have terminated several clinical staff members for their intentional disregard of eligibility requirements. Meanwhile, San Francisco's Department of Public Health sent me this letter tonight that they sent to One Medical on Monday. In the letter, the city's COVID Command Center directs One Medical to return 270 vials or 1,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. DPH said they are redirecting those doses to other priority populations in the city and that they have stopped allocating vaccine to One Medical.

Now, One Medical, which is based in San Francisco, is a concierge-type medical service and provider that costs $199 annually to join. They operate in more than a dozen US cities and tend to attract higher-income patients. They are now under fire in California, Oregon, and Washington state for reportedly letting people skip the line to get vaccinated.

NPR published messages between One Medical doctors and staff who are expressing concern about young, low-risk patients receiving vaccines at One Medical locations. Tonight, I spoke to David Magnus, the director of Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics about inequities that are built into the vaccine distribution system.

DAVID MAGNUS: I think we have from an ethical point of view of not just looking at what the regulations say but what are the factors and the ways in which structural racism is actually built into the way distribution channels are being set up.

- Providers, obviously, have a responsibility to follow the eligibility requirements and vaccine rules but how much personal responsibility do we all have to make sure that we're also part of the equity solution when it comes to vaccines?

DAVID MAGNUS: I think that's really the key issue. And that means, for some individuals, if they know that they can wait, they probably should wait.

- One Medical sent a lengthy statement to ABC that says in part, "Any assertions that we broadly and knowingly disregard eligibility guidelines are in direct contradiction to our actual approach to vaccine administration. We have numerous checkpoints in place to mitigate abuse of our vaccine booking system. We routinely turn people away who do not meet eligibility criteria."

Tonight, I, myself, have received several messages from people who say they were not screened for eligibility when they went to a One Medical location here in the Bay Area to get their vaccine. I also heard from someone who says they know someone who got vaccine who was not eligible here at One Medical.