Kaiser Cancels Thousands of COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments in Silicon Valley Due to Low Supply


Kaiser Permanente has canceled more than 5,200 immunization appointments in Santa Clara County due to a lack of supplies, leaving some of South Bay’s most vulnerable patients confused and frustrated.

Janet Gillis, a patient of Kaiser, had her vaccination scheduled for February 1 – but it was abruptly canceled. She and her husband both received an email three days before their date informing them of the change.

“I understand that Kaiser didn’t get enough shots,” Gillis told the San José Spotlight. “What pisses me off is that they said they would honor the appointments they had made and then went back on their word.

Appointments were scheduled between Jan.29 and Feb.5, according to the hospital. Meetings were scheduled at all sites in South Bay, including San Jose and Santa Clara.

Kaiser officials said they booked more appointments than vaccines and couldn’t keep up.

“Last week, in a very unfortunate development, we had to cancel some vaccination appointments in our Santa Clara area because we did not receive the vaccine supplies planned during the appointments, estimated on the deliveries from previous vaccines and state and county councils, ”a Kaiser spokesperson said. “We understand the frustration this causes, and we continue to do all we can to increase vaccine supply, in partnership with county, state and federal governments.”

About 750 of the appointments were for patients aged 75 and over. Kaiser said these meetings “are being postponed as soon as possible.”

Another 4,500 appointments were for residents aged 65 to 74.

“We are committed to vaccinating these people when the supply is available,” Kaiser officials said.

Janet Gillis’ email from her healthcare provider Kaiser about the delay for her vaccine appointment.

“We deeply regret the stress this can cause for you,” said an email from Kaiser Rakesh Chaudhary’s doctor. “All of our doctors in Santa Clara wish we could magically fix the vaccine shortage, but it is beyond our control.”

Mike Munday, 72, received his first dose with Kaiser last month and is now awaiting his second. But a friend of hers, aged 70, with diabetes and kidney problems, had her first vaccination appointment with Kaiser canceled.

Although he has an appointment for a second dose, Munday said he was nervous about not getting his injection on time due to Kaiser’s cancellations.

“They don’t really honor the appointments previously made,” he said. “(It’s) very disappointing… I hope they don’t cancel my second shot.

In early January, Kaiser began vaccinating people 65 and older according to state guidelines, although Santa Clara County health officials recommend that all providers vaccinate people 75 and older by due to a shortage of vaccines.

After immunizing people 65 and older for several days, Kaiser changed course for patients 75 and older. The change brought Kaiser into line with the county’s directive to vaccinate people 75 years of age and older due to a countywide vaccine shortage.

“As we receive an additional vaccine, we are working to postpone these appointments, prioritizing those 75 and over,” a spokesperson for Kaiser said. “As supplies allow, we will also try to postpone these 65 to 74 years, but we will need a significant increase in vaccine supply to plan for this population.

According to Marty Fenstersheib, responsible for COVID-19 testing, more than 80% of deaths from COVID-19 are in people 65 years of age and older.

In the meantime, Kaiser officials are telling members they can get vaccinated at any approved provider.

According to the County COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, more than 167,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. About 44,000 second doses were administered, meaning that about 2.2% of the county’s 1.94 million people were vaccinated.

According to the same dashboard, Kaiser has around 2,600 vaccination appointments scheduled until February 9.

More information on vaccine registration can be found at www.sccfreevax.org.

Contact Madelyn Reese at [email protected] or follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

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