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Vaccine Watch

Sutter says it prevented second-dose cancelations in Santa Cruz County thanks to county filling supply void

After days of confusion among Sutter patients in Santa Cruz County, the health system said no second-dose vaccine appointments were canceled here because the public health department stepped in to help.

Sutter/PAMF broke its silence Friday, confirming to Lookout that the county’s public health department helped prevent the cancelation of second-dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine in Santa Cruz County by helping fill Sutter’s supply void.

Sutter was forced to cancel tens of thousands of second-dose vaccine appointments across Northern California due to a shortage of supply that also impacted Santa Cruz County.

However, “the vaccine shortage Sutter experienced was minimized in Santa Cruz County,” because the county shared doses with the health system, a Sutter spokesperson told Lookout Friday. As a result, no second-dose appointments were canceled.

Sutter has not been taking first-dose appointments since mid-February due to the same supply issue.

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County public health officials also said they stepped in to help the health system in a press conference Thursday — something they also did during the early days of the vaccine rollout when supply was erratic.

“Sutter appreciates the county’s willingness to deploy vaccine through our clinics and further our shared goal of vaccinating as many vulnerable patients as possible,” the Sutter spokesperson told Lookout.

The health system also hopes to have vaccine operations back on track after receiving an allocation of 30,000 doses from the state that are expected to arrive next week. The state also committed an additional 30,000 doses to the health system for the week of March 15.

“When we receive the promised 60,000 doses, we will still need another 30,000 to complete the approximately 90,000 second vaccination appointments originally booked across our network,” the spokesperson wrote.

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The patients affected by the cancellations live in 22 Bay Area counties. Sutter, headquartered in Sacramento, operates about 24 acute care hospitals and more than 200 clinics in Northern California. The provider serves more than 3 million Californians.