At least two hospitals in Southern California have been found to be vaccinating the relatives of employees working at the facilities, many of whom are not involved in healthcare whatsoever.
Redlands Community Hospital in Culver City said it was left with ‘extra’ doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and so reached out to people who didn’t work at the medical center.
The hospital claims that the vaccine doses would have otherwise expired and insists that all first-responders working at the 420-bed facility were treated first.
At least two hospitals in Southern California have been vaccinating non-frontline workers having received ‘extra’ doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine including Redlands Community Hospital
A relative who works at Southern California Hospital, but did not want to be identified, also said that family members were invited to receive Pfizer vaccines.
‘The hospital had planned on vaccinating all of their employees, but a large number of their staff declined and they were sitting on a lot of thawed vaccines,’ the woman said to the Orange County Register.
‘They offered police officers, firefighters and first-responders to get vaccinated and also told employees they could invite four family members.’
She will return to the hospital in a few weeks time to receive a second dose of the vaccine.
But despite attempting to keep the extra inoculations to family members, the hospital quickly became overwhelmed by those clamoring for the extra Pfizer doses.
A relative of a worker from Southern California Hospital say they were also ‘invited’ to receive the vaccine
The hospital was forced to stop offering vaccines to relatives and go back to focusing on solely first-responders.
However, the vaccination program outlined in federal guidelines, put together by the Centers for Disease Control, said relatives should be treated far later in the rollout of the vaccine.
It has seen some hospital boards come out to state openly that they are following the rules to the letter.
‘We have been really holding the line and making sure frontline workers go first,’ said Krist Azizian, chief pharmacy officer for Keck Medicine of USC, which has about 9,000 workers to the OC Register. ‘We do not offer it to family members of our staff.’
Any extra, the hospital says, goes to frontline workers.
Engineer/paramedic Bonnie Breckenridge (right), gives the the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Fire Chief Colin Stowell (left) at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Training Facility
The main issue with the Pfizer vaccine is that it must be stored at a temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit and as soon as it is taken out of the freezer, must be administered as soon as possible, or it goes to waste.
The woman who got to receive the vaccine early despite not being a frontline worker has praised the actions of the hospital in seeing that none of it goes to waste.
‘Faced with thawed, expiring vaccines that can’t be refrozen, and no contingency plan, doctors made the choice to vaccinate people they could,’ she said.
‘That’s what doctors do, save lives. That’s what happens in disasters. Situations are constantly in flux and people have to make command decisions to save…