Three counties in the San Francisco Bay Area have suspended COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to One Medical offices after the private health-care provider allowed ineligible people to cut in line for vaccines, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
According to the Chronicle, San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda counties have stopped sending vaccine doses to One Medical, and are seeking the return of more than 1,600 doses. NBC Bay Area later confirmed the report.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health investigated complaints that the company was giving vaccines to people who did not meet the state’s early eligibility criteria, the report said, and the company’s response indicated that, indeed, ineligible people had been vaccinated before their time.
California has been only vaccinating people over 65 as well as health-care and other essential workers. Early supply shortages forced some local health agencies to limit vaccinations to those over 75 or health-care workers.
In a letter to One Medical executives, the San Francisco health department demanded the return of 1,600 vaccine doses immediately because they could not verify the eligibility of some vaccine recipients. The doses had been set aside for “other uses,” the letter said, which had not been authorized by the health department. The company was allowed to keep enough doses to provide second shots for those who had already received one shot.
San Mateo and Alameda county officials also found discrepancies, the Chronicle reported, and also cut off their allocations.
NPR reported earlier Wednesday that One Medical was flouting local regulations by letting people cut the line for vaccinations in multiple states, including employees who did not deal with the public. Forbes reported similar claims earlier this month.
In a statement to the Chronicle, One Medical said: “We are disappointed to learn that ill-informed hearsay is leading to public misconceptions about our COVID-19 vaccine protocols and, more importantly, has impugned our company values in our efforts to collaborate with Bay Area health officials to administer COVID-19 vaccines.”
One Medical did not immediately respond to a request for comment by MarketWatch.
One Medical is a membership-based health clinic with offices in 12 major markets, and works with more than 7,000 companies. In November, One Medical reported it had more than 511,000 members.
Shares of One Medical parent company 1Life Healthcare Inc. ONEM, -4.38% fell more than 4% on Wednesday. After going public in January 2020, its shares are up 126% over the past 12 months, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +1.14% 26% gain.