State to Launch COVID-19 Vaccination Hub, Notify Residents When Vaccine Eligible
California plans to launch a coronavirus vaccination information and data hub in the coming weeks that will allow state residents to sign up for alerts when they are eligible to receive a vaccine, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.
The vaccination hub, dubbed My Turn, uses technology from Salesforce and Skedulo and is currently being piloted in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, Newsom said, with the intent of making it available statewide by February.
Residents will be able to use My Turn to sign up for text or email notifications when they can finally receive a vaccine as well as information on where vaccines are available, how many state residents have already been vaccinated and the tiers for vaccine access.
Newsom touted My Turn as “the most robust” vaccination information system in the country, but noted that getting it available to all Californians will take a few weeks to ensure a smooth roll out. “We just want to make sure that we don’t run this thing into the ground and have a system that shuts down,” Newsom said Monday during a briefing on the pandemic.
Around 130,000 state residents are being vaccinated each day as of Jan. 15, according to the California Department of Public Health. As of Jan. 17, roughly 3.2 million vaccine doses have been shipped to local health departments and multi-county health care systems.
In addition to launching My Turn, Newsom announced that the state will change its vaccine distribution hierarchy to an age-based system, once all health care workers, people over age 65, food and agriculture workers, teachers and school staff members are vaccinated.
The age-based system “will allow us to scale up much more quickly and get vaccines to impacted communities much more expeditiously,” Newsom said.
Newsom argued that the state’s current average number of vaccinations per day puts the state on track to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccinations across the country in his first 100 days. The state would only have to average around 110,000 vaccinations per day to meet that goal, Newsom noted.
“Even if things were static – they will not be – but even if things were static, we would more than exceed the goal that was laid out by the Biden administration,” Newsom said.
Newsom also acknowledged the state’s lackluster vaccination rate so far, ranking in the bottom half of states by the percentage of vaccine doses administered.
Public health officials in many counties, including some in the Bay Area, have argued they don’t have access to enough doses to efficiently vaccinate large numbers of people.
Likewise, the state’s original framework of which demographics to vaccinate and when likely contributed to the lag, Newsom said.
“We realize we have got to increase throughput here,” he said. “While we are proud of the framework we put out … we recognize it has advantages and it has disadvantages as it relates to speed and efficiency.”
The state also plans to reallocate some vaccine doses that go unused to ensure every possible dose is utilized.
“We have tripled our rate of administration of the vaccine,” Newsom said, noting that daily vaccinations were at just 43,459 on Jan. 4. “We’re just getting going.”