SACRAMENTO – Based on learnings from the 10-Day Vaccine Challenge, the Newsom Administration detailed a series of vaccine delivery system changes to focus each sector of the health care system on their core competencies and expedite vaccine administration.
The vaccine distribution and operations effort will be led by Yolanda Richardson, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, in consultation and partnership with Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the California Department of Public Health. While vaccines remain extremely limited, the goal is to build a system to equitably and efficiently administer vaccines when supply increases.
“Our state and county public health leaders have done the important groundwork to get California’s vaccination plan up and running and we are grateful to them and will continue to partner with them,” said Governor Newsom. “We have learned that to accelerate pace we need to dial up the scale of our efforts to ensure vaccine supply goes into arms as quickly as it arrives in the state. This collaboration between Secretaries Ghaly and Richardson continues our approach to lead with public health and add Secretary Richardson’s expertise in operations and with the health care delivery system which will be pivotal in implementing these improvements to get all Californians vaccinated safely and swiftly, with equity as our North Star.”
Specifically, the state will implement three changes based on the lessons learned from the 10-Day Vaccine Challenge.
Simplifying Eligibility: In simplifying eligibility beginning mid-February, the state will implement a statewide standard under which health care workers, individuals 65+ and education and child care, emergency services and food and agriculture workers will be eligible to start making appointments to receive the vaccine, pending vaccine availability. These are the groups identified in Phase 1B, Tier 1.
Future groups will become eligible based on age. This statewide standard will move in unison across all 58 counties. This will allow the state to scale capacity up while also ensuring the vaccine goes to disproportionately impacted communities.
Standardizing Information and Data: Leveraging California’s innovation and technology assets, the state is officially launching My Turn today, a new system for Californians to learn when they are eligible to be vaccinated, a place to make an appointment when eligible and a mechanism to easily track vaccination data. Through My Turn, individuals can sign up for a notification when they are eligible to make an appointment and schedule one when it is their turn. My Turn will also help track those who have yet to receive a second vaccine dose and need additional outreach.
Technology from California companies Salesforce and Skedulo are the foundation for My Turn. Having been piloted in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, individuals can visit https://myturn.ca.gov to register for a notification immediately. Scheduling appointments beyond the pilot counties is expected to be available in February.
The My Turn system will also automatically report vaccination information into state data systems. Providers will be required to either administer vaccines via the My Turn scheduling system or an electronic health record with an automatic data feed into the state’s system. This will reduce data lags and give us real-time information on how we are doing at the local and statewide levels.
Addressing Available Supply by Streamlining Vaccination Process: Based on recent learnings, the state vaccine team will build on the work of counties and health providers to coordinate vaccine delivery statewide, with an eye toward ensuring safety, equity and the fastest possible delivery of vaccine.
California will build a statewide vaccine administration network to speed the equitable delivery of current supply to eligible Californians. The state, through a Third Party Administrator (TPA), will allocate vaccines directly to providers to maximize distribution efficiency. This will also give the state greater visibility into what is happening on the ground.
The vaccine provider network is expected to include public health systems, pharmacies, health systems, public hospitals, community health centers, pharmacies and pop-up and mobile sites with an immediate focus on allocating to today’s high-throughput providers. The vaccine provider network will expand as vaccine supply grows and vaccine characteristics change, with fixed and mobile sites used to meet the needs of individual communities. Local public health systems will continue to play a key role as vaccine providers and by providing their unique insights and knowledge to ensure the network reaches disproportionately affected Californians.
The new approach will continue to focus on equity. Vaccines will be allocated to make sure low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have access to vaccines, and providers will be compensated in part by how well they are able to reach underserved communities. Real-time data will allow for adjustments to be made if initial equity targets are not met.
While the state will drive faster administration of available vaccine supply, overall vaccine supply into California will continue to be dictated by the Federal government.
Secretary Richardson is an operations expert with 25 years of management experience in the private and public sector, including a leadership role where she helped launch Covered California. She also has deep experience with the health care delivery system, serving as Chief Operating Officer at San Francisco Health Plan, and leadership positions at health information exchange Cal eConnect and vision care health insurance company Vision Service Plan.
Secretary Richardson will work closely with California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, who leads the state’s health care services, social services, mental health services, alcohol and drug services, income assistance and public health services.