The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley tech executives, and other high rollers are trying to bribe their personal concierge doctors to put them at the front of the line for Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination once the jabs become available.
Dr. Ehsan Ali, who runs Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor, told the paper his office is getting “hundreds of calls every single day” from clients who want VIP access to COVID-19 vaccines – meaning they want to cut to the front of the line ahead of hospital workers and the elderly.
“This is the first time where I have not been able to get something for my patients,” Ali is quoted as saying, noting that his high-profile client list includes celebrity names like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber.
In California, healthcare workers and nursing home residents are the top priority for vaccination, followed by essential workers and those with chronic health conditions. After that, everyone else will have access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Those who appear on television and in movies, however, apparently consider themselves to be more essential than everyone else, and want to be moved to the front of the line because they see themselves as most important.
Dr. Jeff Toll, who reportedly has admitting privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the first hospitals to get the COVID-19 vaccine, recalled that one of his patients, a rich celebrity, asked: “If I donate $25,000 to Cedars, would that help me get in line?” Toll says he responded with a simple no.
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Because the media is already reporting the COVID-19 vaccine as “scarce,” there is supposedly rising demand for it to the point that a black market for the jab is said to be forming.
People with money or connections, or both, could be weaseling their way into getting pricked earlier than everyone else, and most of the country is none the wiser as to what is taking place.
Patients with money are reportedly on waiting lists with their concierge doctors, some of whom charge as much as $25,000 a year for 24-hour access to the “best” care the Western medical system has to offer.
Some of these concierge services, recognizing that the Pfizer vaccine requires sub-zero storage temperatures, purchased ultra-low temperature freezers long in advance. These freezers are now in very short supply.
“As soon as we heard about the vaccine coming to market, we started looking for freezers,” says Andrew Olanow, co-founder of Sollis Health, a concierge practice with clinics in New York, the Hamptons, and Beverly Hills.
Six weeks ago, Sollis placed an order for six ultra-low temperature freezers, which cost about $5,000 each. They are set to arrive sometime in January. After reserving these freezers, Sollis says “large governmental orders” scooped up most of the remaining supply.
At the current time, the U.S. government is controlling the allocation of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses as they are being distributed to all 50 states. Until that changes, concierge services that cater to the rich and famous are having to tell their wealthy clients to get in the queue like everyone else.
“We’re governed by the Hippocratic Oath, the responsibility to provide care for the people who need it most,” says Dr. Abe Malkin, founder of Concierge MD LA, a house-call medical service that costs upwards of $750 per month.
“But at the same time, there’s obviously going to be gray areas based on individual patients’ needs.”
According to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was caught attending a large, mask-free birthday party back in November in violation of his own mandate, those with “means” and “influence” will not be crowding out the less fortunate when it comes to getting COVID-19 vaccinated.
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