California’s New Vaccine Program Gets Underway

As of Monday, March 1, California will get more uniformity in the way COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.

California’s new vaccine rollout is being managed by Blue Shield. Ten counties will participate initially, with all 58 counties expected to join the new vaccine network by March 1.

California’s counties will join the new system in three separate waves. Wave 1 consists of Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Riverside, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. They’ll transition Monday. Large counties like Los Angeles and San Diego are part of Wave 2.

The contract with Blue Shield has been controversial. Blue Shield has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Gov. Gavin Newsom in recent years. And it’s not the first time a lucrative, no-bid contract has been given to a Newsom donor.

“I really think that the governor has a tin ear in terms of receiving huge campaign contributions and providing sole-source contracts for corporations that were giving him these contributions,” Bob Stern, former general counsel to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, told Capital Public Radio.

Read more about the new vaccine system here.