Hollywood people can't stop cutting the line for vaccines

Do you remember when we looked at a story of people from Hollywood taking up all of the reservations for vaccinations intended for underserved communities like Compton? The sight of the well-to-do showing up in some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods just to grab a jab put municipal officials on alert and they immediately moved to implement a plan to stop it. Sadly, that plan doesn’t seem to have worked out very well. This week there was another case of vaccination reservations being offered at a vaccination center in Pasadena. Within the first hour of the appointment system being online, nearly two-thirds of the available appointments had been booked by people with addresses in Hollywood. The organizers of the pod quickly gave up in disgust. (NY Post)

California officials shuttered a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Tuesday when hundreds of ineligible workers from Hollywood production companies overran the facility looking for jabs, according to a report.

City officials confirmed that within the first hour, 900 of the 1,500 appointments at the Pasadena City College clinic had been booked by assorted workers from Hollywood’s production, media, and streaming companies — most of whom were ineligible.

“Hundreds signed up within the first hour,” city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. “It was like rapid fire.”

This wasn’t quite as bad as the last instance we covered here. In the previous case, the people showed up and actually got the vaccine doses intended for the local community. This time the organizers simply gave up and canceled the event. So instead of the wrong people getting the doses, nobody got them. Should we call that a win?

What’s potentially stranger about this story is the fact that the Hollywood applicants weren’t even being smart about it. This time the registration system informed applicants that they would be required to show proof that they either worked in an eligible occupation (e.g. frontline healthcare workers) or they either worked or lived in Pasadena. The online form had a pulldown menu to indicate your field of work, and a significant portion of the Hollywood residents went ahead and selected the “Service — entertainment, performance” option.

I suppose we should give them some credit for being honest, but the instructions clearly stated both the residency requirement and the group 1 occupations. Providing an address in Hollywood and admitting you work in the film industry clearly disqualified the person, but they were somehow able to flood the application process.

I hate to keep going back to the same questions when these line-cutting stories crop up, but who is designing these online registration systems? If you go to the trouble of building an interface capable of screening for home addresses and occupations, how hard would it be to have the system reject a reservation for a user who fails both tests? Yet against we see an area where many qualified people are still waiting for a shot and there are significant numbers of doses available. But the system collapses because of administrative incompetence and a failure to anticipate a problem that has already been plaguing you for months.

I’m not letting the line-cutters in Hollywood off the hook here, by the way. If you’re at least clever and successful enough to get a job in the film industry and can afford to live in Hollywood, you should know better than this. Being part of the glitterati at any level doesn’t entitle you to simply cruise around and take what you want, no matter how much you start believing your own hype. But the people of Pasadena who are in immediate need are not being served well by health officials who have been placed in charge of this program.