In the land of the Beautiful People, things are getting ugly.
Officials in Pasadena, California, were forced to cancel a clinic to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations this week after well more than half of the 1,500 appointments available were claimed by individuals who aren’t eligible to receive the shot, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
The clinic was designed for the elderly and those who work in essential industries — but that’s not who signed up.
As the L.A. Times Twitter headline put it: “Flooded with line cutters from Hollywood and media, Pasadena cancels …”
Pasadena officials canceled a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for senior citizens, grocery store employees and other essential workers after hundreds of people who were not eligible for the shots signed up for appointments.https://t.co/bW25kD5yjx
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) March 9, 2021
Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian told the Times that about 900 of the slots available had been booked by those with jobs in the media and Hollywood, including “production companies, streaming TV services and news outlets and on the sets of soap operas.”
The problem apparently started with an email sent by the city’s public health department to eligible individuals who had expressed an interest in getting a vaccine — child care workers, food workers, health care workers, senior citizens, teachers — saying they could book appointments for vaccinations at Pasadena City College.
One of the clinics was due to hold vaccination appointments on Thursday.
The email contained a registration link, along with a warning in red letters alerting recipients that it should not be forwarded, the Times reported.
Naturally, it was forwarded. And naturally, the results were predictable.
“Hundreds signed up within the first hour,” Derderian told the Times. “It was like rapid fire.”
On Monday, according to the Times, a reporter for the newspaper who received the link called the city. When officials opened the registration system, they found it swamped with appointments for individuals who didn’t qualify.
“California has limited vaccine access to people 65 and older, as well as essential workers in food and agriculture, education and child care, healthcare and emergency services. No other essential workers are currently eligible,” the outlet reported.
Because the feasibility of contacting 900 individuals by phone in a matter of days to verify their eligibility was questionable, the city decided to cancel the clinic entirely — which hit hard on the very people the clinic was supposed to help, as the Times reported:
“Canceling the clinic was particularly difficult news for senior citizens who had struggled to get appointments, and who have been largely shut off from the world for a year, Derderian said. Some cried when they learned their appointments had been moved, she said.”
Some social media reactions were scathing.
The Oscars are April 25. They need those shots more than you, undeserving peasant.
— Steve W. Kurtz (@SteveWKurtz) March 10, 2021
The Hollywood elite is what gives out fair city the scorn of so many. This here is the epitome of that.
I think they should all be fined big $$$
Stealing from the elderly and the very people that risk their lives to keep life going should be a punishable crime.
Name & shame‼️
— Radical Activist Ⓥ????✊????☮️ (@seekdivinetruth) March 10, 2021
So, name some names. I’m sure it was rich elites.
— Cindy (@asheborn57) March 10, 2021
But some thought the Hollywood crowd was getting a bad rap.
what you fail to address is that it’s probably a lot of blue collar crew workers in hollywood who signed up – who are pulling 10-14 hour days on set – *they aren’t making millions*. for all those thinking its big actors/rich people ??♂️ – there is a 1% in hollywood to.
— Reza Nosrati (@rezanosrati) March 10, 2021
Obviously, not everyone who works in Hollywood and the news media is an on-camera star raking in millions.
And to be fair, not all those who signed up for an appointment might have realized they were jumping the line. According to the Times, the registration page included a drop-down box where users could select their industry and it included “Service — entertainment, performance.”
Still, the rules of common sense — and common decency — should prevail, even in Southern California.
If an email contains a red-letter warning that it’s not to be forwarded, recipients of the forwarded email should at least have clue that they have no business signing up for what it offers. And have the decency to take a pass.
That’s particularly true when it’s something as crucial as a vaccination for an infectious disease that can be fatal to those who are most vulnerable — like the elderly.
Individuals signing up for a vaccination they’re not eligible for are engaging in an activity with a very real chance of stealing someone else’s chance for survival.
And that’s about as ugly as it gets.
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