SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With limited vaccine supplies, we’re hearing more stories of people gaming the system and jumping the vaccine line.
Now some are reportedly taking advantage of vaccination sites that don’t require proof of eligibility.READ MORE: Dixie Fire Update: Smoke From The 142,940-Acre Fire Is Now Drifting Into The Sacramento Valley
Vaccine line jumping is a problem nationwide — from the wealthy paying for doses before they’re eligible to people misusing vaccine codes that were intended for underserved communities.
“It’s whack-a-mole every single day,” Governor Newsom said this week.
He said he witnessed it firsthand at an East Los Angeles clinic.
“I was down in East L.A. the other day at a public housing site exclusively Latino, and saw these Audis pull up, folks that look like me, wondering what was going on,” Newsom said.
He explained that people had used vaccine codes to get appointments that were intended specifically for underserved communities. The state says it’s re-working the vaccine code system to address the issue.
But CBS13 has learned that others are now gaming the vaccine system, no code or money needed, thanks to pharmacy chains and clinics that simply aren’t checking for eligibility.
A viewer recently alerted us that Walgreens was vaccinating people based solely on how they filled out an online eligibility form, without verifying that the people were actually eligible.
The viewer pointed to multiple acquaintances who were vaccinated but were not eligible.
CBS13 confirmed that anyone can sign up for a vaccine appointment at Walgreens by simply clicking “I meet my county’s eligibility requirements” and checking the box that says they provided accurate information.
While Walgreens does ask that you bring identification to your appointment, the pharmacy chain tells us:READ MORE: 2 Men Arrested After Catalytic Converter Theft In Yuba City
“The intent for asking for ID at the time of appointment is to confirm the person receiving a vaccine matches the individual who made the appointment online and attested to meeting the eligibility requirements outlined by the state or jurisdiction. We also ask them to confirm their attestation again in store to reconfirm they are eligible to receive a vaccine. Unless specifically required by a jurisdiction, we will not turn away individuals who do not produce an ID.”
Some who were vaccinated at Walgreens tell us they were not asked for ID.
It’s important to note because eligibility varies by county, some may not even realize they are cutting in line.
For instance, some counties are vaccinating food and agriculture workers, while others – like Sacramento County – are not yet.
Sacramento County spokesperson Janna Haynes says they do verify eligibility at their county clinics.
“We cannot control what outside entities are doing, the checks and balances that they have,” Haynes said.
She says the county clinics do turn people away who try to game the system — which is also problematic.
“That not only waste that appointment, it wastes time, it wastes resources,” Haynes said. “And now we have missed the dose for that appointment that we could have given to someone who needed it, who was eligible.”
She notes the line-cutters are taking appointments away from people who need them. There could be fatal consequences for those at the greatest risk.
“If they go through the process and somehow sneak in an appointment, that means someone else wasn’t able to get an appointment, someone who is a grandmother who might have a heart condition and who might come into contact with COVID and potentially pass away,” Haynes said.
Sacramento County announced Friday that it will be opening up vaccinations to food and agriculture workers next week. That will include restaurant workers.MORE NEWS: Remains Of WWII Sailor From Stockton Killed At Pearl Harbor Officially Accounted For, Navy Says
Drive-thru appointments for people who live or work in Sacramento County will be available at their McClellan Park location.