Dignity Health hospital apologizes for vaccinating educators ahead of county's schedule

Dignity Health Northridge Hospital is expressing regret for offering COVID-19 vaccines to educators before Los Angeles County was at that point for shot prioritization, and said it continues to support inoculation efforts for those who are eligible.

The hospital has been vaccinating people since December, using doses provided by the state.

Initially, the hospital inoculated its front-line healthcare workers and then moved to vaccinate residents age 65 and older, Northridge said in a statement shared with Becker's Feb. 12. After that, it  prepared to vaccinate essential workers who would be next in line under the county's vaccine distribution phase. Northridge said it believed vaccination of this group would begin Feb. 1.

The hospital said it invited employees and teachers at several public and private schools in the area, including daycare centers, and law enforcement agencies, to get a shot at the hospital Feb. 2. Fourteen schools and daycares responded, and 164 teachers and staff members received the vaccine.

But the county is currently only offering vaccines to healthcare workers, long-term facility residents and residents age 65 and older. Therefore, the county told Becker's Feb. 15 it reported the incident to the state and informed the hospital that it had violated the county's tier system.

"We realize that it was premature to schedule these appointments for individuals in group 1B before the county reached that point in its prioritization," said Northridge. "When we were made aware that the county would not move on to vaccinate this group, we should have canceled these appointments. We regret that these vaccinations did not align with the county's vaccine prioritization approach."

The county said it has been assured that the violation won't be repeated, and the hospital said it will continue to work with the county to vaccinate eligible people.

"Northridge Hospital remains committed to continuing to support vaccination efforts and do our part to end the COVID crisis," the hospital said.  


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