Sutter Health cancels 30K vaccine appointments due to CA backlog

The state's allotment of 30,000 doses for the next two week is only enough to cover two-thirds of the 90,000 second dose appointment backlog. The remaining 30,000 Sutter Health patients will lose their appointments.

Video Transcript

STEPHANIE SIERRA: Sutter Health just confirmed to us the state has allotted them 30,000 doses set to arrive by Tuesday or mid next week. The supply has been inconsistent for the past month. Now other counties are concerned these cuts are tied to Blue Shield's transmission.

After four weeks of urgent requests for more vaccine, Blue Shield has finalized a preliminary plan with Sutter Health. The state committing 30,000 doses to the health care system set to arrive next week. Another 30,000 the following week. That's only enough to vaccinate 2/3 of the current backlog.

CINDY CHAVEZ: All of our health care providers, counties across the state, are all feeling the need for greater transparency in the process.

STEPHANIE SIERRA: Supervisor Cindy Chavez says the same problem is impacting Santa Clara County. She's concerned the delay is tied to Blue Shield's transmission.

CINDY CHAVEZ: We received much less vaccine, we the county, than we were expecting. And we just were notified of that today. And one of the challenges is that we're notified about this information the week before we're planning for the following week.

STEPHANIE SIERRA: 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.

KEVIN MULLIN: Candidly, it was very puzzling. You would hope that the vaccine supply would match up with the footprints that these different health care providers had in our state and there would be a proportional allocation.

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

KEVIN MULLIN: 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, just the coordination among the different entities.

STEPHANIE SIERRA: Now we've reached out to Blue Shield for further comment. The company did confirm, starting today, some select counties and providers will start receiving a three-week allocation plan to figure out how to schedule these appointments. Now I want to make clear, this is separate from the transition most Bay Area counties will be making into the new system starting March 7th. Stephanie Sierra, ABC 7 News.

- Steph, any update from Kaiser Permanente? Has their dose allotment been cut?

STEPHANIE SIERRA: So Kaiser told us the state has increased their weekly vaccine supply. They would not release any specific numbers but did tell us they're able to better meet the demand of their membership. But Kaiser did say they still have not received any update from the state on when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will arrive. And we'll certainly keep an eye on that.

- All right, Stephanie. Thank you.