California counties reject Blue Shield's COVID-19 vaccine contract

Several California counties haven't signed a contract to allow Blue Shield of California to manage distribution of the state's COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As a result, many counties — including Los Angeles County — have been unable to reach an agreement with California and Blue Shield of California on COVID-19 vaccine distribution for weeks, potentially slowing delivery. Under a new memorandum of understanding, counties can sign an agreement with the state instead of Blue Shield of California to continue receiving COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Paul Markovich, president of Blue Shield of California, told the publication March 12 that many counties were concerned about signing a contract with a private company to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses. However, the counties are now expected to reach a separate agreement with California, which will still require counties to "reasonably cooperate" with Blue Shield, according to the memorandum obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

"They're much more comfortable with an agreement with the state, which is fine by us as long as there's agreement that they will participate in the performance management system that allows us to deliver on the performance in our contract," Mr. Markovich said March 12, according to the Los Angeles Times

As of March 12, 92 vaccine providers had signed Blue Shield of California's contract to operate 1,300-plus vaccine sites, the insurer told the Los Angeles Times.

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