GRF officials disappointed in decision by health care provider
By Sam Richards
(Friday, Sept. 23): For the first time in more than a dozen years, Kaiser Permanente is not planning a free flu vaccine clinic in Rossmoor in 2022. As a result, residents who want their annual flu shot will need to go outside the gate.
“In my 22 years here, and at least the last 12 to 15, we’ve always had a flu clinic, even during the (COVID-19) pandemic,” Kelly Berto, Rossmoor’s recreation manager, said last week.
Kaiser representatives did not offer a specific reason last week as to why there won’t be a Rossmoor clinic this year. But in a statement, Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Physician in Chief Dr. Kenneth Grullon said Kaiser’s on-site flu vaccination clinics are being expanded for Kaiser members, and that Kaiser’s vaccination outreach in communities beyond its members is currently focused on reaching “underserved and high-risk populations,” including long-term care facilities in the Diablo service area, which includes central Contra Costa County.
Grullon said Kaiser contacted Rossmoor’s Recreation Department, which has sponsored the Rossmoor vaccine clinics, with an offer to pay for buses to bring Rossmoor residents to nearby Kaiser facilities for vaccinations.
Berto said the amount of coordination and GRF staff time to take on a project to bus Rossmoor residents to Kaiser facilities is not feasible at this time.
Approximately 800 people received vaccinations at Kaiser’s Sept. 15, 2021, clinic in the Tahoe Room of the Event Center, Berto said. The Rossmoor vaccine clinics have been “well-attended and very popular among residents” over the years, she added, and GRF officials are disappointed Kaiser will not hold a clinic in Rossmoor this year.
Kaiser’s Grullon said Rossmoor residents can visit https://kp.org/flu or call 1-800-573-5811 for dates, times and locations (including downtown Walnut Creek or Park Shadelands) of Kaiser vaccine clinics in the area and provide their own transportation.
Kaiser’s downtown Walnut Creek medical center is on the regular route for Rossmoor buses to downtown Walnut Creek, an option for residents who schedule a free shot at that location. Residents also may call dispatch to schedule a ride if transportation is needed.
Residents also can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online tool at www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines to find flu shot clinics near them.