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Chester County Hospital Ran 'Lottery System' For Employees' Family Members To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- The University of Pennsylvania Health System has become the second health system in the state to acknowledge that it gave the COVID-19 vaccine to employees' family members, but said it halted the program after discussions with the state Department of Health. The University of Pennsylvania Health System said that its Chester County Hospital ran a "lottery system" for family members of employees who otherwise met the state's eligibility requirements.

"Based on guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on this matter this week, Chester County Hospital has discontinued this practice," Patrick Norton, Penn Medicine's vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement provided in response to inquiries from The Associated Press.

Additional details about Chester County Hospital's lottery program, including how it worked and how many employees' family members were vaccinated under it, were not immediately available Friday.

"We continue our commitment to protect as many individuals as possible while following all applicable eligibility guidance," Norton said.

Earlier this week, another large health network, Geisinger, acknowledged that it had allowed employees' family members to skip the COVID-19 vaccine line, holding three weekend clinics at which Geisinger employees were permitted to bring up to two family members so long as they were eligible under the state's phased vaccine rollout.

The state Health Department said Geisinger, which has facilities through central and northeastern Pennsylvania, shouldn't have set aside vaccine for employees' relatives. The agency threatened to withhold Geisinger's allotment of first vaccine doses. Geisinger insisted it followed state guidelines for vaccine eligibility.

About 3,600 relatives of Geisinger employees were vaccinated under the program. No additional vaccine clinics for employee family members are scheduled.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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