Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the state will enforce the order of people receiving vaccinations, issuing a warning to medical providers who may be tempted to cut a friend or relative in line to receive the shot.
“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,” Newsom said during a press conference. “You will not only lose your license, we will be very aggressive in terms of highlighting the reputational impacts as well.”
The first wave of coronavirus vaccines are intended for health care workers and those in high-risk congregate settings, such as skilled nursing facilities. Future phases of vaccine distribution likely will be targeted at those who work in education or child care, emergency services, food and agriculture, Newsom said.
But as the state receives “millions and millions of doses,” the Democratic governor said, it is clear “not every individual may hold themselves to those higher ethical standards, the Hippocratic oath which they’ve taken, and we are mindful of that.”
The governor spoke as California, a state of 40 million people, is expected to receive a total of nearly 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this week. Each person will need two doses of the vaccines currently available.
“I’m not naive to the prospects that there are going to be some issues and we’re going to have to work not just as a state but with our county partners to monitor that behavior at the local level, even at the clinic level and to make sure that someone is not passing a vial 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 higher need,” Newsom said.
To that end, the state is working with partners, including the California Medical Association, to put out a package soon that will detail exactly how enforcement of vaccine distribution will be handled.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services, offered one method by which the state could crack down on those who skip the line.
The California Department of Public Health has the responsibility of enrolling every medical provider into the system that allows them to receive vaccines to distribute.
“We also have the ability to dis-enroll these providers when in fact any of these violations are flagrant enough that no longer can that provider, that place that’s distributing vaccines continue distributing vaccines based on those issues,” Ghaly said.