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CBS13 Investigates Problems With 'My Turn' Vaccine Sign-Up Tool

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) —  County health departments are reporting problems with California's "My Turn" vaccine sign-up tool.

The issues range from My Turn telling people that there are no appointments in some counties, when there are, to the site sending people from the Bay Area to the Greater Sacramento area and forcing local counties to give them some of the limited local supply.

My Turn was billed as the ultimate COVID-19 vaccine sign-up tool. It is supposed to tell you when you're eligible to get the vaccine and let you make an appointment to get one.

But My Turn is still in the pilot phase and is not fully operational in many counties, including Yolo County.

"No Appointments are Available"

"One of our biggest problems is that My Turn doesn't have the ability yet to sign up for appointments," said Yolo County spokesperson, Jenny Tan.

Tan says that's causing confusion.

While My Turn will tell Yolo County residents if they're eligible for the vaccine, when someone who is eligible tries to make an appointment, the website says "no appointments are available."

However, there are vaccine appointments available in Yolo County, people just can't sign up through My Turn yet.

"It is misleading that on the My Turn website it says that appointments are not available in Yolo County when, actually, they are," Tan said. "We have been trying to educate our residents that you do have to do a two-step process right now until My Turn becomes more user-friendly and has an appointment application."

She explains, for now, residents in Yolo County have to go to My Turn to see if they're eligible for a vaccine. Then, they have to log on to the county website, or connect with the county via 211, to make an appointment.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) couldn't immediately tell us how many counties are fully operational and currently allow residents to make an appointment through My Turn. A CDPH representative said that the list changes regularly. However, he said that the state estimates that people in all counties will be able to make appointments through My Turns by the end of the month.

In the meantime, CBS13 asked the state why the website doesn't direct people to contact their county for an appointment instead of incorrectly stating that "no appointments are available" in the counties that are not fully operational on My Turn yet. CDPH did not provide a response.

Allocating Vaccines to Non-County Residents

In counties like El Dorado, where My Turn is fully operational and residents can make an appointment, county representatives say they are having a different problem.

El Dorado County spokesperson Carla Hass says My Turn doesn't allow them to limit vaccines to county residents.

"We had a clinic last Thursday and 70 percent of the people who were vaccinated were from outside of our county," Hass said. "Our allocation of vaccine from the state is based on our population."

She explains that My Turn allows people to sign up for vaccine appointments in El Dorado County who live within 50 miles.

Hass says that includes a population of approximately 5 million people, but their vaccine allocation is based on the actual population of fewer than 200,000 people.

She adds that last week they had patients from as far away as Alameda County, where residents have their own mass vaccination clinic at the Oakland Coliseum.

It's not clear why someone from Alameda County, which is more than 150 miles away, was sent to El Dorado County.

Hass says the county has been in contact with CDPH and the My Turn vendor. "Neither one of them are giving us straight answers about what the problems are and how they're going to address fixing them," Hass said.

She stressed that allocating 70% of their limited supply to people from outside the county leaves El Dorado's most vulnerable at risk.

"We have a really high proportion of senior citizens in our county that want to get vaccinated. But if people from four or five other counties are taking those spots, we want to fix that, 'equity', as the state says, that's not really very equitable," Hass said.

CBS13 asked CDPH if My Turn is supposed to allocate limited vaccine doses to people from outside local counties. The state has not yet provided a response.

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