Some Kaiser members say they are struggling to get COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – Placer County resident Janet Castaneda says because her 84-year-old husband has underlying conditions, they have been desperately seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Had a little bit of problems recently and I’ve been very worried about him, and I really wanted to get that vaccine for him,” Castaneda explained. “He’s pre-diabetic, he’s overweight, way overweight, and he has very high blood pressure.” 

The couple receives medical coverage through Kaiser Permanente.

“They told us that he is eligible but they said, ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ and they haven’t yet,” Castaneda told FOX40.

Castaneda isn’t the only Kaiser member struggling to get a vaccine. Others have sent FOX40 messages like this one:

My father in law is 74, will be 75 in June, he is a diabetic and is a kidney transplant patient and Kaiser will not give him a shot because he is not 75.

State guidelines say when it comes to age, those 65 and older are eligible for a vaccine.

FOX40 reached out to Kaiser, which said they don’t have enough vaccines to meet members needs.

… So far, we are receiving a small supply of vaccine in comparison to the size of our membership; we have received only enough to vaccinate 4.5% of our California members. Further, we are notified how much vaccine we will receive on a weekly basis with quantities varying each week, making it very difficult to confidently schedule appointments very far in advance. …

Chyresse Hill, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

A Kaiser spokesperson also said that when it comes to a person’s age, they are currently concentrating on providing vaccines to those 75 and older, adding that they expect more vaccines in the coming weeks.

For Castaneda, that’s too long of a wait. She was able to book a vaccine appointment for her and her husband later this week.

“So we heard through Facebook that Sutter was providing the vaccines, and so we called the number and we were both able to get an appointment on Friday,” she said.


The full statement from Kaiser Permanente can be read below:

1)       What does Kaiser’s vaccine supply look like? Do you have fewer vaccines than other hospitals? 

So far, we are receiving a small supply of vaccine in comparison to the size of our membership; we have received only enough to vaccinate 4.5% of our California members. Further, we are notified how much vaccine we will receive on a weekly basis with quantities varying each week, making it very difficult to confidently schedule appointments very far in advance.  We are very hopeful that this will change soon and we will be able to expand the number of people we vaccinate to more eligible age groups and occupations. 

2)       People 65 and older are eligible for vaccines, can they get them through Kaiser if they are members.

At this time, we do not have enough vaccine to vaccinate our population of members age 65 and older.  We are focusing first on those 75 years and older, and even within that group we are taking into consideration those at highest risk of mortality or other severe disease, as well as those who reside in vulnerable communities.  As vaccine supplies increase, and we anticipate they will, we will be able to vaccinate more people who are eligible under state guidelines.  

Kaiser Permanente is committed to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to our members and communities as soon as possible, in accordance with state guidelines, equitably and as vaccine supplies allow.

3)       What is Kaiser telling members who are eligible to receive vaccines but are having trouble do so through Kaiser

We understand and apologize for the frustration some of our members have encountered with availability of vaccination appointments. We are grateful for everyone’s patience as we anticipate additional vaccine deliveries over the coming weeks.

We will update the kp.org/covidvaccine website as new information becomes available.

Chyresse Hill, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

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