Story at a glance

  • A group of residents and fellows at Stanford protested the school’s vaccine policy, which they argue does not prioritize frontline workers.
  • School leadership apologized and said they would upgrade their rollout plan.

Last Friday, more than 100 Stanford Medical Center doctors and nurses protested the university’s vaccination rollout, alleging that the school is not following the recommended public health guidelines by prioritizing frontline workers in direct contact with COVID-19 for vaccination.

The San Francisco Chronicle writes that Stanford medical professionals protested in Palo Alto wearing facial masks and carrying signs, calling for more support for the hospital’s frontline workers and improved transparency in the vaccination rollout.

“I’m here because we were promised, multiple times, that we would be vaccinated in the first wave,” Daniel Hernandez, an emergency room resident who protested, told reporters.


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Hernandez said that hospital officials asked hospital fellows and residents to support doctors in the COVID-19 ward in addition to their medical school or specialty work, but they have yet to receive a vaccine. 

One of the more popular sign slogans was “7/1349,” which represents the seven residents and fellows who received vaccinations, while 3,900 doses were available. 

Protesters said that the medical professionals who received first rounds of the vaccine included orthopedic surgeons, nurses treating outpatients and a dermatologist — senior faculty members who do not have as much contact with COVID-19 patients as some of the frontline workers.

“There is still no articulated plan to vaccinate the remaining 1,300+ residents and fellows, including those on the front line directly treating COVID-19 patients,” read a letter written by the frontline workers at Stanford ahead of the protest. “It is important for us to articulate to you that at this time, residents are hurt, disappointed, frustrated, angry, and feel a deep sense of distrust towards the hospital administration given the sacrifices we have been making and the promises that were made to us.”

The President and CEO of Stanford Health David Entwistle was quick to respond to protesters.

“We got it wrong. Let’s get you vaccinated,” he reportedly said. “We’ll correct it.”

Entwhistle noted that Stanford went ahead with its vaccination plan based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations that health care workers and older or elderly people get vaccinated first.

Stanford leadership is reportedly devising an upgraded vaccine allocation plan following the demonstration. 


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Published on Dec 21, 2020