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State, counties release few details about new Blue Shield system – KCRA Sacramento

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Feb 23, 2021

As the state struggles to meet vaccine demand, it’s also rolling out a new system designed to streamline statewide distribution.Some counties will soon transition to the new Blue Shield system. Few details have been released from state or county health officials about the transition. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties are two of the first on the list to move to the new system.In an email sent to KCRA 3 News, a Stanislaus County spokesperson said no guidance has been received from Blue Shield. County officials in San Joaquin County did not respond to the request from KCRA on Monday.The system is intended to smooth out distribution, tracking and the vaccine appointment-making process.RELATED | Here’s what’s in California’s contract with Blue Shield to manage state’s COVID-19 vaccine effortsSome said the old system is difficult to navigate.“It was a real process,” said Judy Peebles, who worked to get her 92-year-old mother a vaccine. “It was frustrating to get in anywhere.”When Peebles learned her mother was eligible for the vaccine, she immediately tried to make an appointment.“I was really happy that she was able to get it, but we had a hard time getting it,” Peebles said. “I was on the computer several hours one day trying to get her an appointment.”Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Blue Shield would develop a centralized system to get doses of the vaccine out quickly and equitably. In an interview with KCRA on Monday, California Secretary of Health Dr. Mark Ghaly deferred to other state officials on the transition, instead saying he is looking forward to working with the insurer.“I am very excited to get to working with Blue Shield and many other partners on making sure our vaccine distribution has a keen eye on equity,” Ghaly said.In an email to KCRA, Blue Shield did not respond to questions but directed them to the California Department of Public Health, which also did not respond to a request for information about the new system.

As the state struggles to meet vaccine demand, it’s also rolling out a new system designed to streamline statewide distribution.

Some counties will soon transition to the new Blue Shield system. Few details have been released from state or county health officials about the transition. Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties are two of the first on the list to move to the new system.

In an email sent to KCRA 3 News, a Stanislaus County spokesperson said no guidance has been received from Blue Shield. County officials in San Joaquin County did not respond to the request from KCRA on Monday.

The system is intended to smooth out distribution, tracking and the vaccine appointment-making process.

RELATED | Here’s what’s in California’s contract with Blue Shield to manage state’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts

Some said the old system is difficult to navigate.

“It was a real process,” said Judy Peebles, who worked to get her 92-year-old mother a vaccine. “It was frustrating to get in anywhere.”

When Peebles learned her mother was eligible for the vaccine, she immediately tried to make an appointment.

“I was really happy that she was able to get it, but we had a hard time getting it,” Peebles said. “I was on the computer several hours one day trying to get her an appointment.”

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Blue Shield would develop a centralized system to get doses of the vaccine out quickly and equitably.

In an interview with KCRA on Monday, California Secretary of Health Dr. Mark Ghaly deferred to other state officials on the transition, instead saying he is looking forward to working with the insurer.

“I am very excited to get to working with Blue Shield and many other partners on making sure our vaccine distribution has a keen eye on equity,” Ghaly said.

In an email to KCRA, Blue Shield did not respond to questions but directed them to the California Department of Public Health, which also did not respond to a request for information about the new system.

 

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