A vaccination clinic scheduled for Thursday in Pasadena was rescheduled after a registration link was shared with a large group of people who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, city officials said.
The registration link was sent to a group of entertainment, news and production individuals, according to the city. The group is not eligible for vaccinations under state rules, unless they meet other criteria. Some people who are not residents of Pasadena also received the link, city officials said.
Plan Your Vaccine: How and where to get vaccinated.
More than half of the 1,500 appointments for Thursday's clinic were believed to be made by people who are ineligible. Thursday's clinic has been cancelled due to the violation, city officials said.
Get Southern California news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC LA newsletters.
The violation was brought to the city's attention by a Los Angeles Times reporter who called to ask whether the link was legitimate.
"We sent it to those in the eligible tiers, but with a big red, huge font -- do not share this link with others who are not eligible," said Lisa Derderian, the city's public information officer. "If there's any question, they should make that phone call like this reporter from the LA Times did."
Get Los Angeles's latest local news on crime, entertainment, weather, schools, COVID, cost of living and more. Here's your go-to source for today's LA news.
The call was the only one received from someone questioning the registration link, Derderian said.
Initially, anyone who is ineligible and received the link was advised to cancel their appointment. City officials said later Tuesday morning that the clinic has been postponed.
Vaccinations are available to the following groups listed on Pasadena’s health department web site.
- Healthcare works providing direct care
- Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
- People 65 and older
- Childcare and K-12 education workers
- Food and agriculture workers.
“Individuals who attempted to sign up for vaccination before it’s their turn will not receive vaccine,” the city said in a statement. “Please wait your turn. Unfortunate circumstances such as this inhibit our ability to vaccinate residents as quickly as possible.”
An entertainment industry employee, who asked not to be identified, said the link was received Monday, leading many to believe they had become eligible for the vaccine. The employee said the website asked for personal information, including city of residence and in which industry the individual works.
"During no point in the signup process were you disqualified because of ineligibility due to a residency requirement," the employee said. "Because the guidelines for vaccine distribution change all the time, it can be hard to keep up with the most up to date guidelines. Those of us who received the link believed that – because we are required to work in person – we had been added to the eligibility list.
"The entertainment industry is often portrayed, sometimes accurately, as entitled and excessive. But the reality is that entertainment is mostly comprised of professional and blue-collar workers who frequently put in 60-70 hours a week to get their jobs done."
Attempts to jump the line and obtain the vaccine have been repeatedly decried by state and local health officials, yet the problem has persisted. Los Angeles County health officials have dealt with issues of people obtaining what were supposed to be secure registration codes to make appointments at vaccine clinics reserved for select groups of residents.
The issue was highlighted when Gov. Gavin Newsom made an appearance at a public housing complex in the county, where a vaccine clinic had been set up for low-income residents of the neighborhood, using a dedicated appointment registration code. Many people who showed up to the clinic with appointments lived outside the area, but had managed to obtain the code, preventing actual residents from making appointments.
Pasadena reported 10,993 coronavirus cases and 320 COVID-19-related deaths as of Monday. Los Angeles County's state-adjusted average rate of daily new COVID-19 cases has dropped to 5.2 per 100,000 residents, clearing the way for the county to advance to the red tier of the state's reopening blueprint in a matter of days. The county will advance as soon as the state reaches the threshold of administering 2 million vaccine doses in hard-hit communities statewide, a total that could be reached by the end of the week.