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Wealthy residents in Los Angeles who are not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine are misusing vaccine appointment access codes meant to help people living in Black and Latino communities disproportionately hit by the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The California program, which is intended to address inequities in vaccine distribution, provides special access codes to community organizations that allow eligible people to access the state’s My Turn vaccine scheduling site.
Three codes intended for communities of color were circulated in affluent professional and social networks last week, the Times found. It’s not clear where the codes originated from, but the Times added that in some cases those who passed them along didn’t know they were intended specifically for Black and Latino communities.
One source, who is white, told the Times that several of his friends who are otherwise ineligible and “in a bracket where they’re very protected,” got vaccinated using a code.
The Office of Access and Functional Needs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said in an email obtained by the Times that the program sets aside appointment slots that are only accessible with an access code every day at Cal State LA and Oakland Coliseum.
Insider has reached out to the office for comment.
Black and Latino communities in California have been disproportionately hit by the virus. While Latinos make about 40% of the state’s population, they account for 55 percent of all confirmed Covid-19 cases and 46.5 percent of all deaths, according to data from the state.
As of late last month, the death rate of Latino residents in Los Angles skyrocketed more than 1,000% since the fall and is nearly triple that of white residents.
On a national scale, Latino and Black patients accounted for almost two-thirds of deaths from the virus among those 65 or younger, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last summer.
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