Unfair and entitled: This is how they describe people who jump the line and get vaccinated before they are eligible.
Many know at least one person who exaggerated their health or had their boss classify them as front-line workers to jump the line: Experts call hypercompetitive behavior the “vaccine hunger games.”
Karla Salazar, a child care worker in San Francisco, describes the lengths some people will go to to get the COVID-19 vaccine as “crazy,” including lying about being an essential worker.
“They say, ‘oh, I work as a nurse’ and they take their friends’ badges,” she said.
On Monday, millions more Californians with serious underlying health problems and disabilities became eligible for the vaccine.
San Francisco went one step further by including the homeless, prisoners, and others in high-risk congregated settings.
But as the vaccine opens up to more people, so does the opportunity for more line hops and vaccine traps.
“It’s a competition and it shouldn’t be,” said UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. “I think people should have broader goals for society in mind, which is to stop broadcasting.”
He says taking someone who lives in a high-transmission area out of an appointment makes the pandemic harder to fight.
“We don’t want the hunger games because of vaccines,” Rutherford said. “There is a logic to this, and please wait your turn.”
“That’s not fair,” said Soon Tani Beccaria Mochizuki of San Francisco. “The people who really need the vaccine deserve it first.”
While others say that vaccinating anyone will help us achieve herd immunity.
“You know what? The more people get vaccinated, that’s the most important thing,” said Shawn Gupta of San Francisco. “Better for all of us, so let’s do it.”
The city of San Francisco requires everyone to check a box and sign their name swearing they are eligible to get the vaccine, but some say relying solely on people’s honesty makes it too easy to fool the system.
Below is more information from the San Francisco COVID Command Center
We have informed all San Francisco vaccination providers with the following guidelines regarding verification of eligibility:
- Use reasonable processes to verify that individuals presenting for vaccination meet eligibility criteria, while avoiding unduly burdensome documentation requirements that create barriers to vaccination.
- Workers in different job sectors differ in the available documentation that could verify their employment status. Providers may adopt methods that include, but are not limited to, verifying work identification cards, pay stubs, or letters from employers, recognizing that in some circumstances it may be more feasible and more equitable to rely on obtaining signed certification from the vaccine. labor sector.
- Ultimately, it is up to the immunization agency to decide the appropriate process to verify eligibility; however, vaccination sites serving populations and communities disproportionately affected by COVID19 must ensure that access to vaccines is low-barrier.
- This communication will be updated if CDPH publishes additional guidance on verification of eligibility.