SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest health care providers in the state of California with more than 9.3 million members.
Several ABC10 viewers, who are also Kaiser members, have sent in questions about how it's conducting its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, expressing concerns with overall eligibility, supply shortage, and setting up appointments.
ABC10 reached out to Kaiser for some of those answers. Here's what they had to say:
Q: Can Kaiser patients receive the vaccine at other non-Kaiser locations?
A: “If you’re eligible, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination from any state-approved vaccine provider at no cost. We encourage our eligible members to get the COVID-19 vaccine wherever there’s availability.”
Q: Why is Kaiser vaccinating those who are older than 75 while other facilities are vaccinating those older than 65?
A: “We initially started vaccinating frontline health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and those over the age of 75. As the state has expanded eligibility to include Californians who are 65 or older and other eligible populations, the supply we received did not increase aligned with our coverage of 25% of the state’s population.
Due to that limited vaccine supply, we’re still in the process of vaccinating those in the initial group. We’re committed to vaccinating those over the age of 65 as soon as needed supply becomes available. And as supply increases, we’ll continue to expand priority groups to include additional age bands, risk factors, and occupations as directed by the state.”
Q: How can people make an appointment to receive the vaccine?
A: “If you’re in one of the groups we’re currently vaccinating, you can request an appointment. Due to limited supply, not everyone will be able to make an appointment right away. We're currently working with the state of California to increase our supply. As we get more supply, we'll continue to add more appointments."
Q: Why is Kaiser Permanente not getting enough vaccine?
A: “There continues to be a shortage of vaccine nationwide and in California. In the initial launch of California’s vaccination effort, Kaiser Permanente and the state’s other major health systems were tasked with vaccinating health care workers and essential providers (and not just those who work at Kaiser Permanente), which we have been doing with the supplies we have received.
We have been working with the state to address [the vaccine shortage], and over the last couple weeks the allotment we have received has increased. We expect the allocation to continue to increase, getting more closely in line to our membership’s percentage of the state’s population.”