California partners with Blue Shield for vaccine distribution


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Health insurance giant Blue Shield is now building and preparing to manage a new vaccine distribution network across California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration released details of the contract Monday. The state is set to pay Blue Shield no more than $15 million for the service.

Blue Shield’s network will include health systems, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, mass vaccination sites and mobile clinics.

Under the contract, Blue Shield’s network is expected to distribute three million doses per week by March 1 and four million doses by the end of April.

Blue Shield will manage monitoring and oversight of vaccine data, then report it directly to the state, but the state will continue to make it public through its own dashboards.

Overall, state leaders said the contract aims to make vaccine distribution across the state more efficient, accessible and equitable. California will establish a monthly percentage goal of vaccinations completed for those in under-resourced or disproportionately impacted parts of the state.

State data Monday showed six million total shots have been administered. The governor said California is now averaging a million doses a week.

Newsom’s administration has been scruntizied for a slow rollout of its vaccine distribution.

“There’s a lot of confusion up and down the state,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson.

Patterson, R-Fresno, said he’s looking forward to and is optimistic about the state’s deal with Blue Shield. He added he spoke with Blue Shield officials recently about the plan.

“I have confidence that if they let Blue Shield do what they do best, we will have comprehensive clarity; they will unwind and untangle all this confusion,” Patterson said. “If this works the way I hope it will work, the state will stand back with its bureaucracies and technologies that are failing.”

The contract ends at the end of the year.

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