COVID-19 vaccinations were rolled out at several Bay Area hospitals Friday, but at Stanford Medicine, it was not a smooth first day. Instead it was a morning of protest by some front-line doctors upset they had been left out of the first wave.
"First in the room, back of the line." That was the mantra Friday for a group of medical residents and fellows who said they're usually the first in the room to care for patients but they were sent to the back of the line to get the Pfizer vaccine.
The protest took place inside and outside the hospital.
"We came out here after we learned that only seven out of 1,349 residents were selected for the first wave of vaccinations," said Charles Marcus, a third-year resident.
"I think the lack of transparency was the most upsetting to us," medical resident Jessica Buesing said.
The hospital admitted it was wrong, saying in a statement: "Our intent was to roll out an ethical and equitable plan for the entire organization, and there were flaws in that plan that we are actively trying to repair."
The residents say early doses should also go to nurses, therapists, janitors and food service workers, people they say Stanford's algorithm may not include.
"We see all these people who should be in the first wave of people getting access to vaccines, and they're telling us that they're not," third-year internal medicine resident Angela Primbus said.
The residents said the next step is to get a seat at the table for the upcoming round of discussions as to where the next set of vaccine doses are distributed.
Here's the full statement from Stanford Medicine:
"We are writing to acknowledge the significant concerns expressed by our community regarding the development and execution of our vaccine distribution plan. We take complete responsibility and profusely apologize to all of you. We fully recognize we should have acted more swiftly to address the errors that resulted in an outcome we did not anticipate. We are truly sorry.
As you know, we formed a committee to ensure the vaccine's equitable distribution. Though our intent was to ensure the development of an ethical process, we recognize that the plan had significant gaps. We also missed the opportunity to keep you more informed throughout this process.
We are working quickly to address the flaws in our plan and develop a revised version. As we make corrections to our plan, we will provide continuous communication in an effort to engage our entire community in this process. We are optimistic that a large shipment of vaccines will arrive next week, which will allow us to vaccinate a substantial segment of our community.
We recognize the disappointment and distress this has caused, and we appreciate those who brought these concerns to us. We deeply value each and every member of our community and the outsized contributions you make to our mission every day - especially during this particularly challenging year.
We take complete responsibility for the errors in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan. Our intent was to develop an ethical and equitable process for distribution of the vaccine. We apologize to our entire community, including our residents, fellows, and other frontline care providers, who have performed heroically during our pandemic response. We are immediately revising our plan to better sequence the distribution of the vaccine."