Written by Sidiqa Atria
Blue Shield of California has created a new goal of administering 3 million vaccine shots per week starting on March 1. The insurance company has been given the reigns to decide where the vaccine doses will be allocated statewide from here on out. California has only administered about 1 million doses of the vaccine this week, a far cry from Blue Shield’s current goal.
The decision to allow Blue Shield to take the reigns when it comes to distributing vaccines was made by Gov. Newsom, who has faced criticism for vaccine distribution up to this point being slow and unorganized. Despite completely failing the state, Newsom boasted in a recent tweet of California’s new weekly doses goal of 1 million per week.
Some view this new approach as a setback. That is the case for LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell. Mitchell expressed her concern for the new authority saying that it’s “not the solution LA County needs.” She thinks that suddenly changing the distribution process will slow it down and negatively affect residents in the community.
Ventura County has also expressed concern about the Blue Shield agreement and has asked to be excluded from it; claiming the only reason they haven’t been able to distribute as many vaccines as they’d like is because they haven’t had enough supply. Ventura is confident that the way they are operating their vaccine program is efficient as is. The contract that was signed did not allow for any counties to opt-out, however.
Blue Shield is not the only big name in the picture at the moment. Kaiser Permanente recently signed a contract that creates a vaccination program to reach disproportionately affected communities. Both Kaiser and Blue Shield have decided to administer these programs and claim they will not profit from their efforts.
While things sound good on the surface, Newsom is now facing growing scrutiny because of the role Blue Shield played in his campaign for governor. They contributed thousands of dollars to his campaign, and several other companies that were awarded contracts did as well. As always Newsom has denied any wrongdoing or underhandedness, but the fact still remains.
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