Los Angeles' wealthy use secret codes to snag vaccine appointments designated for minorities: report

Los Angeles' wealthy use secret codes to snag vaccine appointments designated for minorities: report
Meaghan Ellis
Experts express concern about mysterious shortage of promised COVID-19 vaccine doses

A California program designated to provide vaccine codes for Black and Latino residents in more vulnerable communities in the Los Angeles area are reportedly being used by wealthy residents.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the program relies on the use of "special access codes" for minorities to make appointments for the vaccine. The publication reports that "the codes are intended for use by people in communities of color who are vaccine eligible, including healthcare workers and those older than 65, but who might otherwise struggle to get an appointment."

However, The Times has revealed some of the vaccine codes are being obtained by wealthy residents in the Los Angeles area who are using them improperly.

The publication reports that "those codes have also been circulating, in group texts and messages, among the wealthier, work-from-home set in Los Angeles" and "many of those people are not yet eligible for the vaccine under state rules."

Under the plan, the state aims to set aside a block of appointments every day at Cal State L.A. and the Oakland Coliseum, according to an email sent to community partners from the director of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

The block of appointments are only accessible with a specific code, which will change periodically based on usage, according to the email.

While it remains unclear how the vaccine codes obtained, the ordeal is forcing the state of California to re-evaluate how codes are distributed in an effort to maintain the fairness and integrity of the program. Now, the state is scaling back appointments by canceling some that were made with access codes during the last week.

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