Seattle Hospital has offered invitational-only Covid-19 vaccine appointments to major donors

Top line

Last Friday, an official at Overlake Medical Center & Clinics in Washington emailed about 110 donors who have donated more than $ 10,000 to the Eastside Hospital System, advising them that vaccine slots are available and providing them with an access code to register for appointments, according to a Seattle weather report, but the center later canceled the invitation after receiving a call from the staff of the state’s governor, Jay Inslee.


Emails, according to the Times, were directed to “major Overlake donors” and said there were 500 open appointments available for January 22, January 23 and the following week, which could be accessed “by invitation” uniquely.

Overlake says vaccination windows were not offered exclusively to donors but about 4,000 people in total, including members of the Overlake board of directors, some patients, volunteers, staff and retired healthcare providers

E-mails would have explained that anyone who signed up was supposed to be eligible for the vaccine under current state guidelines.

Tom DeBord, Chief Operating Officer of the Medical Center, said to the newspaper the email invitation was a “quick fix” after the hospital’s scheduling system crashed, leaving the hospital with 1,400 open appointments that could not be easily listed.

Crucial quote:

“We are under pressure to vaccinate eligible people and increase capacity… We thought this was the most efficient way to add slots”, DeBord said. “Looking back, we could certainly look back and say that was not the best way to do it.”

Key context:

Hospital systems in Washington, like in many other states across the country, have been tasked with facilitating the vaccination of millions of residents. And, according to the Seattle weather, administrators at these hospitals have “received little logistical support, an unreliable vaccine supply and rapidly changing advice on who qualifies and how to reach them.” Last week, Inslee announced that anyone 65 and over would be eligible to receive a vaccine. This led to a influx of seniors attempting to schedule appointments, which “overloaded” Overlake’s system and crashed its scheduling software. That’s when Overlake sent the emails. However, an Inslee policy adviser called Overlake officials on Monday and “urged” them to “cut off access to exclusive dates, which he did on Tuesday morning,” free up slots for the general public. ”

Chief reviewer:

At a press conference on Tuesday, Inslee said that if Overlake “gave preference to a VIP list” it would be “not acceptable to us”. Inslee added that every person in the state should have a “good chance” with the vaccine.


Earlier this month, the Miami Herald reported that at least three South Florida hospital systems offered vaccines to some donors before the general public.

Large number :

200 million. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday his administration had ordered 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccine, 100 million more doses of each of the two FDA-cleared vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer.

Further reading:

Special access to COVID-19 vaccine for donors at Overlake Medical Center attracts reprimand from Inslee (Seattle time)

Biden administration orders enough doses of coronavirus vaccine to immunize 300 million Americans “by early fall” (Forbes)

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