Some wealthy Americans accused of getting vaccines before they're eligible


Since shipments of coronavirus vaccine began to be delivered, it has been the discretion of individual sites to determine who gets their doses. Meanwhile, there have been reports of wealthy Americans getting their vaccines before their eligibility allows them to.

In most states, it is only essential workers and senior citizens who are currently eligible for vaccine doses. In many cases, this does not include teachers.

"Just as essential workers like firefighters and police are being prioritized, so should have teachers," said Miami-Dade County Public School teacher Karla Hernandez-Mats to CBS News.

However, despite a need for vaccines in many who are considered "essential," wealthy Americans are still finding ways to cut the line.

MorseLife Health System, which is a care center in West Palm Beach, Florida, is accused of giving the vaccine to those who are not yet eligible to receive it. In particular, they seem to be giving the vaccine to rich donors.

"You have basically given the vaccine to hundreds of hundreds of different private providers and are trusting they are going to do the right thing," Florida Representative Omari Hardy said.

"It just goes to show that there's been a pandemic for the rich and there has been another pandemic for the rest of us who are not rich and well connected," he continued.

In other instances, the wealthy are offering up large sums in exchange for a COVID vaccine from various doctors. "What I tell people is if they are part of my practice, I will let them know immediately when they are eligible, but I really don't have th ability to adjust the waiting list," Dr. Edward Goldberg, a concierge doctor in New York City said.

The same has been true for Dr. Ehsan Ali, a Beverly Hills, California doctor whose patients have offered to pay up.

"People are willing to do what it takes to get this vaccine," he said.

California's state medical board recently warned providers that those who do not administer the vaccine correctly risk having their medical license revoked. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also said he planned to implement legislation that would keep people from cutting the vaccine lines.

"Is our health care system set up where clearly it's an advantage to have money when it comes to prioritizing yourself?" CBS News correspondent Manuael Bojorquez asks.

Holly Fernandez Lynch, an assistant professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said, "Certainly, the vaccine is one teeny tiny example of that. This is just one tiny microcosm of the really, really disturbing inequity that we see in the American health care system."

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