Why Sutter Health is canceling thousands of COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Bay Area

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KRON) — Sutter Health is at risk of canceling over 90,000 second COVID-19 vaccine dose appointments.

The health care company said they initially paused all new first dose appointments in early February because they did not receive enough vaccines.

But then the company had to indefinitely postpone first dose appointments through March 9.

Now, even second dose appointments are impacted.

“As a result of continued allocation issues, we are in the process of notifying patients with second dose appointments scheduled through March 9 to let them know that their current appointment needs to be canceled due to insufficient supply, and we will call them in 7-10 days to reschedule,” Sutter Health said in a statement.

The company said if the state does not send them more vaccine doses soon, it may have to further cancel over 90,000 second dose appointments that have already been scheduled.

“Due to ongoing supply issues and insufficient vaccine allocation over the past few weeks, in early February we first paused all new first dose appointments, and then had to indefinitely postpone scheduled first dose appointments through March 9. As a result of continued allocation issues, we are in the process of notifying patients with second dose appointments scheduled through March 9 to let them know that their current appointment needs to be canceled due to insufficient supply, and we will call them in 7-10 days to reschedule.  We are also informing these patients that second doses can be delayed according to CDC guidance, and we will work to reschedule them in order of their appointment to minimize further delay. We have been urgently requesting the additional allocations we need from the State in order to prevent canceling the more than 90,000 second dose vaccination appointments currently on our books. This is an extremely unfortunate situation for our patients, and one that is avoidable if we can get additional vaccine supply.”

Full statement by Sutter Health on March 2, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the second dose may be scheduled for administration up to six weeks, or 42 days, after the first dose. However, if the second dose is given after the six weeks, the patient is still considered fully vaccinated.

California says it expects everyone to be able to get vaccinated by the spring. Here’s a chart of the state’s vaccination progress:

President Joe Biden also said he expects the U.S. to have enough vaccine supply for all residents by the end of May.

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