Blue Shield of California will support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strategy to efficiently and equitably administer vaccines to fight COVID-19, Paul Markovich, Blue Shield’s president and CEO confirmed.
“We are honored to play an important role in such a critical and noble effort to restore the health and safety of everyone across the state,” Markovich said.
Gov. Newsom said Tuesday: “Our state and county public health leaders have done the important groundwork to get California’s vaccination plan up and running and we are grateful to them and will continue to partner with them. We have learned that to accelerate pace we need to dial up the scale of our efforts to ensure vaccine supply goes into arms as quickly as it arrives in the state.”
The rate of vaccinations in California has increased rapidly this month – more than tripling to 125,000 vaccinations a weekday. So far, California has administered over 2.4 million vaccinations.
Blue Shield would work closely with Yolanda Richardson, secretary of the Government Operations Agency, who leads the state vaccine team, to help expand the efficient and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state. The overall flow of vaccine into the state is determined by the federal government. Blue Shield’s role will be to maximize the speed at which vaccinations are made available across California with a focus on disparately affected communities. More details about the Blue Shield’s role on the program will be released in the coming days.
A group of Blue Shield employees worked with the state last year to help boost COVID-19 testing. Markovich served as co-chair of the state’s testing task force from March to June, during which time testing increased from 2,000 per day to more than 100,000 per day.
To date, California has provided more than 40 million tests, with 3.2 million positive cases. There have been more than 37,000 deaths due to the virus.
“Getting Californians vaccinated is critical to public health and to our mission as a nonprofit health plan serving Californians for more than 80 years,” Markovich said. “I am pleased to share that Blue Shield of California – and the expertise of our employees in particular – has been called on to help all of us overcome this pandemic.”