After weeks of lagging behind in its distribution of coronavirus vaccines to seniors, Kaiser Permanente is looking to make up some ground starting this week.
Kaiser CEO Greg Adams announced late Saturday that California officials had increased the healthcare giant’s vaccine allotment to more accurately match its large share of the state’s healthcare market.
As a result, Kaiser is starting to schedule appointments several weeks out and finally beginning to offer vaccine appointments to members who are 65 and older.
“This will make it easier for you to get an appointment and plan ahead for your vaccination,” Adams said in the statement.
California divvies up its vaccine supply each week among 58 California counties and nine multi-county healthcare networks, including Kaiser Permanente. But Kaiser officials for weeks had complained that it was receiving a disproportionately small share of vaccines.
In a statement last month, Adams said that Kaiser, which serves nearly a quarter of Californians, was receiving approximately 40,000 vaccine doses per week but had the capacity to administer more than 200,000. The company’s only limitation, he said, was the availability of and access to the vaccine.
After advocating for the state to increase its vaccine supply, Kaiser this week is scheduled to receive 20% of California’s vaccine supply and increase its capacity to deliver more than 600,000 vaccine doses a week across California, according to a company statement.
Unlike Sutter Health and UCSF Health, which have provided vaccinations to people over age 65 for weeks, Kaiser is just now beginning to book appointments for members between the age of 65 and 75.
Kaiser is initially reaching out to people over the age of 65 and who are at the highest risk of exposure or complications from COVID-19 due to factors, such as underlying medical conditions and high-risk professions.
Kaiser members still cannot email or call the company to book an appointment but must wait for the healthcare provider to contact them and inform them that they are eligible for a vaccine appointment.
As of Saturday, Kaiser has vaccinated more than 666,000 Californians, including more than 125,000 health care workers and hundreds of thousands of seniors who are 75 and older.
“With vaccine supply steadily increasing, we look forward to the day when all our members and communities can be vaccinated,” Adams said in a statement Saturday. “In the meantime, we remain committed to working in partnership with the state of California, other health care providers, and businesses to vaccinate everyone we can using every available resource.”
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