Pasadena, Calif. city officials overhauled plans for the area’s largest mass COVID-19 vaccination site this Thursday after hundreds of ineligible workers in the production and news industries snagged appointment times, a spokeswoman confirmed to Fox News.
Pasadena planned to vaccinate 1,500 local eligible seniors and other essential workers at the Pasadena City College clinic this week, but a link for vaccination signups emailed to thousands of eligible individuals was quickly leaked, and within an hour of its release, hundreds of ineligible individuals claimed spots on a state-run system, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
The spokeswoman said a reporter at the Los Angeles Times flagged the issue, which afforded officials more time to run an audit and de-escalate a situation involving hundreds of ineligible individuals potentially turning up to the vaccination site.
As city officials worked through the back end of the system, they found some 900 ineligible signups, mostly involving people who didn’t live or work in Pasadena, which is one of the criteria.
The system cannot automatically nix ineligible signups, which prompted significant time, effort and additional staffing for further verification, Derderian said. A health officer advised officials to temporarily shutter the city college site, and officials have since contacted hundreds of seniors and essential workers to shift the operation to a private location on Thursday, avoiding delayed appointments.
“For people to so-call jump the line, it’s not fair to especially the seniors that a lot of them have been isolated, have not seen kids and grandkids for months, going on probably a year now and they look forward to this,” Derderian told Fox News in an interview. “This is something that will help them mentally, physically get life back to normal.”
Aside from the sign-up process, officials also assist eligible people with transportation to vaccination appointments and follow up afterward to monitor for adverse effects.
The spokeswoman said the ineligible workers were from a wide range of industries, but specifically mentioned soap opera production companies, streaming video companies and the news media. Some signups involved people who lived over an hour away.
“We ask people to be patient, to wait their turn, whether intentional or not, people typically know what tier they’re in, it’s in the media every day and so they know when they qualify so we need people to do the right thing, be fair,” Derderian said.
Derderian claimed some producers called in upset, citing the need for vaccination due to close contact with others through work. Nevertheless, the clinic will adhere to state mandates regarding eligibility, she said.