Health

San Benito County delays joining state’s vaccination portal

Over 12,000 interest forms have been received by the county, but the state has yet to load the data into its My Turn system.

San Benito County has delayed its integration into California’s vaccination scheduling portal, My Turn, as the state has yet to import data from the county’s interest portal. The county’s goal was to go live on My Turn by this week.

Tracey Belton, director of the San Benito County Health and Human Services Agency, said at the Feb. 23 Board of Supervisors meeting that the county had received over 12,000 forms on its own portal from residents who were interested in receiving vaccinations. The interest portal has been available to residents since Jan. 14. 

“The only difference with My Turn and ours, My Turn you actually can make an appointment for a vaccine,” Belton said. “Ours is simply an interest portal, so it wouldn’t allow them to make an appointment for the vaccine at the same time when their turn is up, but there may not be a workaround for that. That’s why we’ve held out. My Turn is working on some of those things in the development of the platform.”

She said the county hopes to send out a QR code invitation to residents registered with the county’s portal so they can schedule a vaccination appointment through My Turn. 

“We’re just trying to iron out the wrinkles before it goes live,” Belton said. 

The inability to transfer registered San Benito residents into the state’s portal concerned Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki.

“That could be a major problem in our community,” Kosmicki said. “People have signed up already on that [county] portal. I don’t think it’s even possible to do the outreach necessary to reach all those people that signed up on that portal.”

If the county is unable to integrate the registered residents into the state vaccination portal, Kosmicki said one option was to use volunteers to make calls to let residents know they need to sign up again on My Turn.

Supervisor Mark Medina also suggested figuring out how to email all registered residents with an update on the status of their form.

Another challenge the county faces is residents who submit multiple forms of interest in the portal, according to Belton.

“It doesn’t bump them any higher on the list, but it does create multiple duplicates within our system,” Belton said. “If you submitted an interest form on the interest portal, you should receive a confirmation email that we have it.”

She also informed supervisors that another reason it’s taking longer for San Benito County Public Health Services to go through the registered list is that 50% of the residents they call to schedule a vaccination appointment already have one. 

Residents don’t have the ability to withdraw their interest form if they submitted duplicates or already got vaccinated, Belton said.

“We’re trying to find different ways to merge the list and to clean up the list,” Belton said. 

Other vaccine news

In her presentation, Belton also said the health department will complete its investigation into the San Benito Health Foundation by the end of this week for allegedly administering vaccines outside of state guidelines. 

And while the county’s health department has been receiving vaccines from the state and distributing it to local providers, Blue Shield will soon take over those responsibilities as a third-party administrator. 

Belton said the county has a meeting with Blue Shield on Feb. 26 to better understand how the county will be affected by the change.

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.