California’s Online Vaccine Appointment System Riddled with Flaws, Officials Say
Los Angeles Times
California’s My Turn COVID-19 vaccination appointment system is riddled with flaws that are making it difficult for counties to reserve vaccine appointments for targeted populations, according to local officials.
The flaws have been exploited by wealthy, privileged people to use redistributed access codes to secure appointments for vaccines that had been intended for people living in underserved communities, reporting shows.
Though California is insisting that counties prioritize vaccinating people living in the hardest-hit areas or those who work in specific front-line essential jobs, the My Turn system does not offer the flexibility to account for a county’s vaccination strategy or eligibility requirements, health officials say. It is also web-based, making it inaccessible for many who are unable to use an online interface, they add.
“If we aren’t able to reserve vaccination options for our (targeted) patients, we are very concerned that they’ll be pushed out by those with more free time, more resources, the ability to sit in front of their computer all day and the ability to drive anywhere in the county for a vaccine,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the director of health services for Los Angeles County.
Eligibility verification has also been an ongoing issue in the state. In February, some eligible caregivers to high-risk individuals were turned away at vaccine sites in L.A. County over fears that their legitimate paperwork was fake. The skepticism emerged after several ineligible people used forged documentation to try to jump ahead in the vaccine line.
State officials say they are working on improvements to the appointment system.