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Vaccine Line-Cutters Are Stealing Spots Meant For Residents Of Black And Latino Neighborhoods

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People wait in a long line for COVID-19 vaccinations at Lincoln Park in Los Angeles on February 23, 2021. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Some COVID-19 vaccine appointments intended for people of color and low-income neighborhoods were used by the "wealthier, work-from-home set," according to a story in the Los Angeles Times, and L.A. County Supervisors are outraged.

The issue appears to lie in the state's My Turn appointment registration system, which L.A. County and others must use to distribute the vaccines. The system uses special access codes that are meant to register people in largely Black and Latino communities.

But Board Chair Hilda Solis says this weekend, people from more affluent neighborhoods were lining up for shots at a mobile clinic at the Ramona Gardens housing complex in Boyle Heights.

"I am disgusted," Solis said. "And I'm not disgusted by the work that we're doing, but I'm more disgusted about the behavior of people in the public that are not being responsible, and actually allowing those communities that are the hardest hit to be able to stand in line and get their vaccine."

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Problems with the program emerged early last week, shortly after the codes became available, reports the L.A. Times:

"Three separate access codes intended for vulnerable populations in Los Angeles strayed far from their intended recipients, making their way into more affluent professional and social networks... Those circulating the codes did not seem to be aware that they were intended for hard-hit communities. In several cases, people thought they had stumbled upon a pilot program that was open to all."

It's not clear how many people were able to book appointments with those misused codes, or if any of them managed to get a dose of the vaccine that way.

Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday the state will move away from those group access codes to avoid such abuses in the future.

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