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'Line Cutters from Hollywood' Force Vaccine Clinic to Be Canceled, Triggering Outrage

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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 …”

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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.

Is this what you'd expect from the Hollywood area?

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.

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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.

But some thought the Hollywood crowd was getting a bad rap.

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.

As the man in the White House might put it (the man Hollywood supports so strongly): “C’mon man!

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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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
Birthplace
Philadelphia
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