Town Square

Health care providers behind on providing COVID vaccinations, tests in Santa Clara County

Original post made on Jan 15, 2022

Santa Clara County leaders are calling on health care providers to step up to the plate at a critical time when testing and booster vaccinations are key to reducing the spread of infection and hospitalizations.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 14, 2022, 5:47 PM


Posted by Local parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2022 at 8:38 am

Local parent is a registered user.

True, the county, the health centers and the pharmacies have all made it painful and time consuming to make appointments. We are a year after vaccines were introduced and still the road bocks every site make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Given vaccine after affects I wanted to time booster shots for the winter break or beginning of the weekend so as not to miss school. Entered and reentered info into dozens of long forms on web sites to try in vain to find appointments when my family was available. Most appointments were a month out. Finally settled for mid week and yes, teens were fairly under the weather and missed school.

By now it should be easier if all these med centers, pharmacies, counties actually want people to get vaccinated with boosters.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 15, 2022 at 8:45 am

Online Name is a registered user.

""I can tell you that Palo Alto Medical Foundation doubled appointment availability for both COVID testing and COVID boosters over the past three weeks," a Sutter Health spokesperson said in a statement to this news organization this week."

And I can tell you as a PAMF patient that it only sent out its first email about the boosters just last week. Who could have imagined that most of us would be getting our health care at pharmacies and Safeway!

I guess they're too busy settling their fraud lawsuits and finding a new CEO to worry about responding to inquiries, disclosing their numbers or worrying about patients.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Demand is high because schools, workplaces, recreational venues, etc. are all requiring proof of a negative test.

This is why demand is so high and why it is so hard to get a test. This says little about our health, more about the need to do a test to live our lives.

It seems we can now reclaim the cost of these tests. Interesting development. Who is making money out of the tests? What do they really cost to manufacture? With PPE being found dumped outside in San Mateo County, are their stockpiles of these tests similarly neglected somewhere?

The waste water is showing that numbers are declining. Very soon these tests will just be a mandate of compliance with no real purpose.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2022 at 8:39 am

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PAMF has really fallen short on testing and vaccinations. Given that Covid is likely to remain permanently in some form, they need to step up and permanently staff teams at each site to meet the need.

Posted by RDR
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2022 at 2:24 pm

RDR is a registered user.

Kaiser looks even worse when you consider that they require all their patients to get meds from their own pharmacies. Generally it's all the other providers that keep Walgreen's and CVS pharmacies operating and able to give vaccinations by their pharmacy staff.

The retail pharmacies have really done a bang up job. If Kaiser had done more IN THIS AREA not just in Northern California as a whole, we'd be in a much batter position with the convenience angle.

Posted by Esther
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 17, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Esther is a registered user.

My son who is homebound and a Kaiser patient received an in-home booster (in-home vaccines earlier) from Kaiser over a month ago. My neighbors who are in their nineties and PAMF patients are on a County in-home booster list with no appointment available yet. PAMF/Sutter really needs to do better by its members. A very grateful Kaiser member.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 17, 2022 at 3:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

This PAMF member got boosted by Walgreens while other PAMF members I know got boosted at Safeway and Costco.

PAMF also sent me to Walgreens for my shingles vaccines, saying it was cheaper and faster. They sure were right; a price comparison showed Walgreens was 10 (TEN!!!) times cheaper. 2 years ago PAMF gave the same vaccine free (no charge.)

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 17, 2022 at 6:44 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I wonder if PAMF physicians are as frustrated as PAMF members, knowing that their patients cannot turn to the clinic for something as basic as a vaccination. PAMF has been unacceptably "not present" during this pandemic. My husband and I wasted all sorts of time trying to get PAMF appointments (very frustrating site) and after giving up went to a County site which was exceptionally well run. We ended up at Safeway for our boosters. Good for Simitian for pursuing an explanation. He has been terrific throughout this entire sorry saga. His Town Halls have been informative and he has taken an active role in trying to improve a bad situation. We are lucky to have such an engaged supervisor who demonstrates respect and compassion for his constituents.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 17, 2022 at 8:46 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Yes, Simitian IS and has been wonderful through this whole sorry mess. Back when PAMF cancelled/postponed appointments for the 2d vaccine and people were scrambling, I went to the county site which took all my information but kept dying at the last step.

Once I realized the problem was on their end, I called his office and he and his staff were actually doing site trouble-shooting and tech support!! They said they knew and I was the 6th person to call! So I told them they should also check on the telephone service because that too was disconnecting people due to high demand.

That's responsible hands-on problem-solving and leadership. Kudos to Simitian and his staff. Would that we had more leaders like him.

Posted by EYC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 18, 2022 at 11:42 am

EYC is a registered user.

Our family went to CVS for our boosters in Nov & Dec. It's much easier to make appointments. They were well-organized. We were in and out CVS within 20 min including the 15 mins "after shot wait time".

Posted by Jennifer Tate
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 18, 2022 at 12:06 pm

Jennifer Tate is a registered user.

Rather than griping about the vaccination backlogs at specific medical centers, just go to your local pharmacy and get vaccinated.

It's as simple as that.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 18, 2022 at 2:29 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Jennifer Tate, those options aren't mutually exclusive you know.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Concerned is a registered user.

Sending gratitude to everyone (can't list all of you) trying to keep us healthy, informed, businesses operating, transit working, newspapers operating, etc during the pandemic. Thank you!

I'm not sure what RDR is referring to when he says Kaiser patients are required to get meds from Kaiser pharmacies and uses that to extrapolate that Kaiser members can't get Covid vaccines at Walgreens. Untrue.

Kaiser allows their members to get Covid vaccinations and flu shots at outside pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, etc. Just make an appointment & bring proof of insurance.

My Kaiser member friends had Covid vaccine appts at Walgreens and Safeway, and provided their insurance info and got vaccinated no problem.
They said they also went to efficient Kaiser vaccination sites.
The Walgreens, Safeway pharmacies bill the insurance company or the government pays. Probably PAMF also reliably does this just as Kaiser does.
So no matter what your insurance is, probably the Walgreens, Safeway, and CVS can vaccinate you. All of these different medical providers at every facility are dealing with huge challenges and working so incredibly hard for us during a pandemic.
(In fact, medical insurance is not a requirement to receive a vaccination--people with no insurance can receive a vaccination at Safeway, etc.)

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 20, 2022 at 6:30 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Walgreens and Safeway and the like regard vaccination as a loss-leader that brings customers to their stores. A good thing for them.

PAMF and Stanford and the like want to attract expensive medical CPT codes and are annoyed at having to deal with the small change of vaccinations.