Covid-19 vaccine (copy) (copy)

A nurse at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital portions out doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in December 2020.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to put insurance company Blue Shield in charge of Covid-19 statewide vaccination distribution was met with harsh criticism by some counties that turned into outright opposition when county administrators refused to sign contracts with Blue Shield as required by the state.

Their biggest concern was that the contract would take away much of their control over how to distribute the vaccine once it reached their health departments. Recently the Newsom administration offered a compromise—rather than a contract, counties would sign a memorandum of understanding.

The state also told counties last week that it would give counties decision-making power over distribution to hospitals and clinics within their jurisdictions—with state approval—and that Blue Shield will consult with each county before making decisions concerning how many vaccine doses it will receive, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on March 19. 

With that backdrop the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider whether the county should sign the MOU at tomorrow's meeting during the afternoon session that begins at 1:30pm. County staff are recommending the board votes to approve.

The staff report states that it's not known what the consequences would be if the county chooses not to sign the MOU. 

"In order to avoid any reduction or elimination of vaccines allocated to the County, it is recommended that Board authorize the [County Administrative Officer] to execute the MOU, including any last minute modifications as may be negotiated between the counties and the State, prior to the end of the month," the report states.

The deadline to sign the MOU is March 31.

The link to the agenda with information on how to participate in the meeting is available here.

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