The nonprofit San Benito Health Foundation is under investigation for failing to follow state guidelines that establish which patients should be among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccination, according to county officials.
The county’s Public Health Services reported the allegations earlier this month to the California Department of Public Health, according to a press release from San Benito County. The foundation—a community health clinic located on Felice Drive in Hollister—is accused of failing to follow the state’s vaccination plan, which sets out tiers and phases defining who is eligible for the vaccine and when.
“Each provider is required to follow the vaccine guidance issued by the CDPH based on the prioritization and equity within the phases and tiers,” says the county’s press release. “San Benito County takes this allegation very seriously and it is currently investigating.”
The county’s Health and Human Services Agency-Public Health Services staff learned of the allegations on Jan. 22.
The state’s vaccination plan gives first priority for the Covid-19 vaccine to healthcare workers and long-term care residents; then to senior citizens and frontline workers at risk of exposure in specified industries. The state’s vaccination plan can be found online at https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/.
The county investigators do not currently know how many San Benito Health Foundation patients may have received the vaccine outside their phase, tier or priority of prescribed administration, according to the press release.
“The State of California Vaccine Plan exists to insure equality and fairness for all,” the county said in the press release.
The San Benito Health Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The local foundation is a nonprofit community health clinic that offers medical, dental and vision services. The foundation was created in 1975 “to fulfill the healthcare needs of the community in the San Benito County area,” says their website sanbenitohealth.org.