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Newsom says new Blue Shield contract will 'streamline' state's vaccine rollout

Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 20:24:56-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A 55-page contract made public this week outlines the new vaccine distribution deal between Blue Shield and California.

"It’s all about transparency [and] data mining [and] analytics. It's about performance measures. It's about working hand in glove not just with the counties but about working with our provider network," Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Blue Shield plans to build a statewide vaccine network and create an algorithm to determine where to send vaccines. However, the distribution of doses is still dependent on supply from the federal government.

According to the terms of the contract, "Blue Shield will assist the [state] in allocating vaccines directly to providers to maximize distribution efficiency, having timely transparency into where the vaccines are and to whom they have been administered, and ensuring they are distributed to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19."

When asked about any pushback at a local level from counties that have already made investments to ramp up distribution efforts, Newsom said that the Blue Shield contract will create a more efficient, faster, and equitable process across the state.

"We are many parts but one body [of] 58 counties [and] 478 cities- cities have issues with counties- counties have issues with states. States [have issues] with states across this country with supply constraints [and] federal issues. So, we're trying to streamline that. We're trying to organize that," added Newsom.

The goal is to give out 3 million shots weekly, starting the first of March. According to the new deal, Blue Shield is not supposed to profit from the agreement.

Blue Shield provided the following statement to ABC 10News on behalf of Paul Markovich, President & CEO, Blue Shield of California:

"We recognize it’s a daunting challenge to overcome this pandemic, however with all of us doing our part, together we can beat this virus and save lives.

At Blue Shield of California, our goal is to work closely with each county, their public health leaders, and state officials to build a vaccine network that is only constrained by the number of vaccines we receive. That’s what will enable us to ensure all Californians have access to the vaccines equitably, efficiently and as quickly as possible. We are taking on this effort because we also want to do all we can to help overcome this pandemic and it is our commitment to do that work at cost without making a profit from the state.

The state will be responsible for determining eligibility and priority for vaccinations, and vaccine allocations will be based on criteria determined by the state. As we work to accelerate the availability of vaccines, we urge everyone to continue following the federal, state and local health guidelines already in place for vaccinations and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19."