One Medical barred from COVID-19 vaccine in California
- Dozens of ineligible young people got the coronavirus vaccine ahead of older, more susceptible groups in California.
- Staffers at One Medical, a healthcare company, gave the vaccine to people who didn’t meet the 65-or-older threshold for receiving one.
- Staffers who administered the vaccine to ineligible young people have been fired, ABC News reported.
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A healthcare provider in California has been barred from distributing the COVID-19 vaccination after its staffers admitted to giving it to young people ahead of older groups more susceptible to the disease.
California is currently vaccinating people who are 65 years of age or older.
Dozens of ineligible people in five California counties received the vaccination from One Medical staffers, ABC News reported. The figure comes after Forbes reported in early February that One Medical staffers in Los Angeles did not verify the credentials of people who said they were healthcare workers.
NPR previously reported that leaked internal communications show the provider flouted eligibility guidelines for recipients, some of whom were directly connected to One Medical’s top leadership.
The staffers who administered the vaccine to these young people have since been fired, ABC News reported.
Cases of inappropriate vaccine distribution were found in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, and Alameda, ABC News reported.
In San Mateo, 70 people who weren’t eligible to receive the vaccine yet got it from One Medical staffers, according to ABC News. The number of young people who got the vaccine in the other four is unknown.
San Mateo, however, ended its relationship with provider One Medical, calling the actions of its staffers “disappointing.”
Officials in Marin, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties are no longer distributing vaccinations to One Medical. San Francisco is permitting One Medical to dole out the second coronavirus vaccine to all those who have already scheduled an appointment to receive one. But the county asked the provider to return about 1,600 unused doses to prevent further distribution.
When reached for comment, a One Medical spokesperson directed Insider to a published statement that said the provider has “numerous checkpoints in place.” The provider “routinely turn[s] people away who do not meet eligibility criteria,” the spokesperson said.
“We stand behind our policy that no ineligible employees, members, or business affiliates will intentionally be given an opportunity to jump the line,” a One Medical spokesperson told ABC News.
Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its guidelines for COVID-19 vaccinations, stories of ineligible people skipping the line have emerged.
In Tennessee, for example, hundreds of elderly people waiting for hours to receive a coronavirus vaccine on New Year’s Eve were told to go home because of a shortage in supplies.
But once they left, health officials called up and administered the vaccine to their friends and close contacts.
And earlier this month in Pennsylvania, a hacker took control of a hotline meant to assist elderly people with scheduling coronavirus vaccination appointments. While calling into the hotline, some senior citizens were met with scammers asking for their credit card information.
It’s been almost a year since the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Since then, more than 28 million people in the United States have contracted the virus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 500,000 Americans have died.
In California, more than 51,000 people have died from the coronavirus.