Skip line for COVID-19 vaccine and lose your license, California governor warns healthcare providers

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that healthcare providers who violate vaccine priority guidelines will be penalized, including the revocation of their professional license. 

"I just want to make this crystal clear. If you skip the line or you intend to skip the line, you will be sanctioned, you will lose your license," the governor said during a news conference. "You will not only lose your license — we will be very aggressive in terms of highlighting the reputational impacts as well." 

Mr. Newsom said his administration has been "working aggressively behind the scenes" with the California Medical Association and other partners to develop a vaccine distribution enforcement plan, the details of which have not yet been released. 

He said enforcement is needed at the state, county, local and clinic levels to ensure "someone's not passing a few vials over to their cousin or aunt or uncle, or God forbid, making a buck or two on the backs of a vaccine that should be distributed to someone who is at high risk or at higher need."

Mark Ghaly, MD, the state's secretary of Health and Human Services, said the state can also  remove providers from the federal system that allows them to receive vaccines to distribute. Dr. Ghaly said that is an enforcement option when any violations of vaccine distribution guidelines are "flagrant enough" that a healthcare provider is no longer fit to deliver vaccines. 

New York has also developed sanctions for deceptive vaccine distribution or administration: Healthcare providers who commit COVID-19 vaccine fraud face a fine of up to $1 million and revocation of state licenses.

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