Rich California residents reportedly have their hands on vaccine access codes for residents of poor neighborhoods – helping them with snag appointments for iconic jams.
Community organizers were provided special access codes to distribute as part of a program to address vaccine inequality in the hard-hit black and latino regions. Los Angeles Times reported.
The codes are for residents of the neighborhood who are eligible for the vaccine under current state criteria, but may struggle to make an appointment,
The newspaper reported that they are being shared in group texts by people who were not for the code – wealthy Californians with the ability to work from home.
Many of those who are able to obtain the code are not currently eligible for the vaccine, the outlet reported.
The newspaper reported that some of them have been able to arrange appointments at two large vaccination sites, Cal State Los Angeles and Oakland Coliseum.
It is unclear how the code started to be misused.
Dimitri Anthes, 32, of Oakland said she was contacted by a friend who claimed the shots were in danger of expiring and that anyone could use the code to schedule an appointment, San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“I had no intention of abandoning the line or taking the vaccine before others needed. I felt that I was taking a dose that would otherwise be gone, ”Anthes, who describes himself as a healthy, blond person, told the outlet.
He said he made an appointment for himself, then sent the code to about a dozen friends.
“It seems to me that a privileged person caught the system and then spread misinformation. I didn’t know what I was doing, ”he told the Chronicle.
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the California Office of Emergency Services, said officials canceled appointments with a code that has been widely publicized, the report reported.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also admitted on Tuesday that abuse had occurred and that they would like to change the system to use personal code instead.
“We don’t like to see those abuses,” he told reporters. “So we are working through those things and we are doing right for those people.”