Stanford is under fire and pledging to make changes after its plan to vaccinate doctors largely left out workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.
With vaccinations underway across the country, health care workers directly battling the coronavirus have been prioritized for inoculation across the nation.
At Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California, however, front-line workers were passed over in favor of specialists who aren’t expected to regularly see COVID-19 patients.
According to the Washington Post, just seven residents working at the medical center were listed in the first wave of vaccinations, despite the medical center boasting over 1,300 residents. Fellows working at the medical center were also largely ignored.
‘The devil is in the details,’ said internal medicine resident James Dickerson.
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Front-line fellows and residents protested Stanford Health Care’s vaccine plan on Friday
Only seven residents were scheduled to receive the 5,000 initial vaccine doses
Anthony Sawyer was one of the people demanding to get a vaccine for his work
Approximately 100 people demonstrated at Stanford on Friday in protest of the vaccination plan, which was spit out by an algorithm.
‘I feel awful that this happened,’ said Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education Laurence Katznelson. ‘It was no one’s malicious fault, but it was a bad outcome.’
After the demonstrations, some fellows and residents were reportedly able to get vaccinated immediately on the spot.
Meanwhile, leadership has vowed to wait to be vaccinated until residents and fellows are, and some with comorbidities are being asked to give their vaccination slot to somebody else.
There is concern that this situation is going to play out repeatedly across the country, however, especially with the number of available vaccines already becoming limited.
‘Disparities in distribution of the vaccine can be seen at a micro level at Stanford today. I worry that the situation we see at stanford is a harbinger of population level inequities of vaccine distribution for our underserved communities,’ tweeted resident Christine Santiago.
After his protest, Sawyer did become one of the people who quickly received a vaccine
Several fellows and residents were pushed to the front of the vaccine line after Friday
Fellows and residents want the same protection as doctors with longer tenures
Sawyer will not be the last young front-line doctor to receive the vaccine in coming days
According to The Mercury News, Stanford Health Care received around 5,000 doses of the vaccine in its initial allocation.
‘We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan,’ Stanford Health Care said in a statement. ‘Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine.
‘We apologize to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine.’
Stanford Health Care is a major institution in Palo Alto, California and key to the virus fight
Pictured: Blood samples being taken by volunteers for a study at Stanford in April
Friday was the first day of distribution for the vaccine at Stanford Health Care. Dr. Niraj Sehgal, chief medical officer, hopes to vaccinate everyone by the end of next month.
Front-line works are expected to be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine, as well as the elderly who live in group residential facilities.
There is already some confusion, however, about how many doses of the Pfizer vaccine each state should be receiving.
The Washington Post previously reported that the government has left doses unclaimed in the Pfizer warehouse, leaving millions left out and slowing the vaccination rollout across the country.
Pictured: A mockup of what the new Stanford Hospital facility will look like
Emergency use authorization of a second vaccine, from Moderna, was given on Friday evening, and rollout of that vaccine should begin immediately.
California has seen one the biggest upticks in coronavirus cases, with over 45,000 new confirmed cases on Thursday and 269 deaths, bringing the total to 22,433 deaths in the state.
There have now been over 17.5 million coronavirus cases in the United States, which has seen over 314,000 people die of the virus.
More than 17.4 million cases and 313,000 deaths have happened in the United States