The city of Pasadena, California, has canceled a COVID-19 vaccine clinic that was scheduled for Thursday after the majority of the registration slots were claimed by people who were ineligible to receive the vaccine, including "hundreds" of people who work in Hollywood and in the media.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the city of Pasadena Public Health Department sent out an email last Thursday to residents who had expressed interest in getting the vaccine, advising them that they could register if they work in an eligible industry, which was supposed to include "healthcare workers, senior citizens, child-care workers, teachers and food workers." Instead, "hundreds" of people who worked in production companies in Hollywood and in local media signed up.
City spokesperson Lisa Derderian told the Times, "Hundreds signed up within the first hour. It was like rapid fire."
When officials determined that a solid majority of registrants were not even eligible to receive the vaccine yet under state guidelines, they announced on Tuesday that the entire clinic was canceled. According to the Times, officials made the decision after determining that it would be too onerous to call all 900 people to tell them not to come.
"We would have hundreds of people showing up who would not have qualified, and they would have been turned away. I'm sure the situation would have escalated in many cases," Deridian said.
When confronted by the Times, some of the Hollywood workers who had attempted to cut in line defended their decision to register by noting that a drop-down menu on the registration page that asked them to select their industry included an option for "Service — entertainment, performance." As the Times noted, the page also included a large, red-letter warning indicating that vaccine supply was limited and that participants should check to ensure they were eligible to receive the vaccine under state guidelines.
Current California guidelines restrict receipt of the vaccine to patients 65 and older, as well as workers in certain enumerated industries like education and food service — and most definitely not Hollywood production companies.