In-Depth: Getting vaccinated through your healthcare provider

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 20:49:30-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For the COVID-19 vaccine, the County of San Diego has urged people to go through their healthcare provider if they have health insurance and the vaccine is available.

Rich Pickett, who flies sick patients who need medical care to hospitals through the non-profit Angel Flight West, was able to book an appointment online through Kaiser Permanente.

“I simply went on-site and selected ‘created an e-visit’ one of the options was COVID-19 vaccine, so I clicked on that, gave my reasons for requesting my vaccination for my volunteer work for Angel Flight West.”

Pickett, who survived a dangerous and challenging battle with COVID-19 last year, said the process of getting his first shot went smoothly. He was able to book his second dose during the first appointment.

“They wouldn’t let me leave until they scheduled it,” he said. “If they can make the schedule while you’re there, I think there’s several benefits. One, it gives you confidence that you’ll be able to have the appointment for the follow-up, two, it gives the provider to block that time out for you.”

Many people who do have health coverage are turning to the county’s vaccination sites because their providers simply don’t have enough doses to give.

Kaiser has more than 9 million Californians in its network. It’s currently vaccinating healthcare workers and patients that are 75 and older. When vaccines are available, appointments are made online at, just like Pickett did.

Scripps Health is offering vaccines by appointment on a first-come-first-served basis to patients 65 and older. Patients who qualify will receive an email with a link to book through their MyScripps account.

Sharp Healthcare is vaccinating patients who are 75 and older. Patients get a vaccination invitation through FollowMyHealth, text, or phone call.

All three healthcare systems say they have a minimal supply of vaccines, so appointments aren’t always available. They will be able to vaccinate more patients as more doses come in.

According to a spokesperson for Kaiser, as manufacturers increase vaccine production, healthcare systems can anticipate larger vaccine deliveries in the coming weeks.

One thing the healthcare systems and county sites have in common, there’s no out of pocket charge for your shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer money are given to Americans at no cost. Still, vaccination providers can charge a fee for administering the vaccine. That fee can be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or a special relief fund for those who don’t have insurance.

If you have a plan with Kaiser or Sharp and received your first shot at a county site, both say it is possible to book your second dose through your provider if the supply is available.

Scripps said right now, it can only offer second shots to patients who received the first shot through Scripps. As of Feb. 2, across the state, Kaiser has administered more than 300,000 vaccines. Numbers specific to San Diego County were not immediately available.

According to a spokesperson, Sharp has administered nearly 79,000 first and second doses, which includes around 4,500 patients and nearly 18,500 employees and physicians.

Scripps has given more than 42,200 doses of vaccine. That includes more than 15,100 doses for patients 65 or older, according to a spokesperson.