Feb. 7—Throughout the nation and parts of
In late January, for example, the
In another instance, the
But in the
"There is no system out there right now locally that will allow the wealthy among us, or anyone else really, to get their vaccines before other more vulnerable populations do," said
Russell, who is spearheading local distribution efforts at the
"When that happens we don't just give them a vaccine because they show up, we ask them to call the health department just like everyone else and schedule an appointment," Russell said. "We are trying everything we can to keep people from gaming the system."
WHILE THE health department is currently at the helm of administration efforts for Phase 1B of the state's distribution plan, doses also have been shipped to
A hospital spokeswoman, as well as a manager at the Walgreens pharmacy in
"Our messages to all our audiences, including our donors and our practices, have been very consistent: KRH is following federal, state, and local guidelines regarding vaccine distribution and will not prioritize any group other than those stated in those guidelines,"
The Walgreens manager said presently, their location does not have any doses to give and if they did, the pharmacy is under contractual guidelines to ensure those doses are allotted to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
HOSPITALS AND pharmacies aside, there also have been reports of people going through either concierge doctors or Direct Primary Care entities in hopes of snagging a vaccine early. Though they differ slightly, both types of health-care systems operate independently from hospitals and clinics in most cases, and instead of accepting traditional insurance, will offer a defined set of primary care services in exchange for periodic payments.
But according to local doctors, that method is a dead end for vaccine seekers in
"There is no way to skip any line nor would any doctor I know try to do that for a patient, nor would any patient I have ever try such a thing," she said. "My patients have quick access to me, which is the beauty of Direct Primary Care, but they get the same answer that the newspaper, internet and hospital-owned offices give to their patients. They get the health department phone number and I tell them to leave their info to get on the list [to be vaccinated]."
ANOTHER CONCERN that has emerged amid the shuffle of COVID-19 vaccines, for which thousands of
Occasionally someone who is on the schedule to be vaccinated won't show up, Russell said. When that happens, health department staff attempt to contact other Tier 1B individuals on the waitlist, but if they are unable to administer it in a timely fashion to someone within that pool, they may turn to vaccinating others that fall further down the line.
Russell said those decisions, though rare, largely boil down to the shelf life of the vaccines.
For example, the
"We don't want to just be sitting on a thawed vaccine. To be honest, that would be pretty stupid on our part," Russell said. "Hardly anyone cancels, but when they do, we have that extra dose and it has to be used."
Surplus is being experienced elsewhere, too.
The pharmacies had entered into a federal contract allowing them to vaccinate staff and residents at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. According to Ebelt, the state health department received permission from the
(c)2021 the Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Mont.)
Visit the Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Mont.) at www.dailyinterlake.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.