Hollywood & Media Line-Cutters Force COVID Vaccine Site To Shut Down

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Matthias Bein/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Matthias Bein/picture alliance via Getty Images

A Pasadena vaccine clinic was forced to shut down after ineligible people tried signing up for appointments

In today’s bleak dystopian news, Hollywood and media folks attempting to cut the line for a COVID-19 vaccine have resulted in a Pasadena vaccination site being shut down. The clinic was meant to serve essential workers and senior citizens but instead, hundreds of ineligible people grabbed appointments.

According to The Los Angeles Times, people who didn’t qualify yet for the vaccine took 900 out of the 1,500 available appointment slots at a clinic aimed at people over age 65 and essential workers who live or work in Pasadena. City spokesperson Lisa Derderian says, “Hundreds signed up within the first hour. It was like rapid fire.”

Derderian says many of the appointments were booked by Hollywood and media people who aren’t yet eligible to receive the coveted shot. They came from “production companies, streaming TV services and news outlets and on the sets of soap operas.”

The Pasadena Public Health Department had notified people last week including healthcare workers, senior citizens, child-care workers, teachers and food workers who wanted a vaccine, letting them know they could book an appointment at the clinic, which was being held at Pasadena City College.

It seems the problem was one of information getting out to the wrong people — the email contained a registration link to CalVax, California’s vaccine appointment system, and offered slots for a five-day period including Thursday. Eligible workers were told to bring proof they worked in the right industry and lived or worked in Pasadena in order to qualify. Despite the warning in red letters telling those who received the email containing the link not to forward it, it seems the link got out anyway. A Times reporter who received the link notified the city. That’s when officials checked and saw the huge number of people who claimed a vaccine appointment slot but shouldn’t have.


It seems California’s vaccine appointment site doesn’t limit registration to those who live or work in certain ZIP codes. That’s how ineligible people can still fill out all the forms and claim an appointment slot, gumming up the system for those who actually do qualify.

Some of the people who signed up but weren’t actually eligible say they thought they were based on a drop-down menu that asks patients to select their industry, and one of the options is, “Service — entertainment, performance.” However, there is a warning message on the page in dark red letters, directly above the form, that warns users: “Vaccine supply is limited. Before registering, please check to see if you are eligible to sign up.”

Normally, the Pasadena Health Department would call people listing a home address outside the city to remind them that if they work in Pasadena, they will need to bring proof to their vaccine appointment in the form of a pay stub or letter from their employer. However, Derderian says that calling 900 people would be too difficult. Hence, the decision to just close the vaccine clinic that day altogether.

“We would have hundreds of people showing up who would not have qualified, and they would have been turned away,” Derderian said. “I’m sure the situation would have escalated in many cases.” She notes that they do check ID to verify eligibility and will turn people away if they don’t qualify.

Derderian shares that the clinic closing down was very difficult for the senior citizens who managed to get an appointment. She says some even cried.

While everyone is understandably eager to get their own vaccine and begin to move on with life, people need to back the hell up until their time comes. We all need the vaccine but some people need it first.

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