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Donors giving $10,000 to Seattle-area hospital got special ‘invite’ for COVID-19 vaccine


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Donors giving $10,000 to Seattle-area hospital got special ‘invite’ for COVID-19 vaccine

A Washington hospital is under fire after it emailed wealthy patrons who donated more than $10,000 a special VIP access code to book highly coveted vaccine slots not visible to the public.

Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, just outside Seattle, extended the offer to about 110 of its biggest donors last week while its public-facing vaccine registration site was fully booked through March, the Seattle Times reported.

“Dear Overlake major donors,” the email obtained by the newspaper read. “We’re pleased to share that we have 500 new open appointments in the Overlake COVID-19 vaccine clinic, beginning this afternoon and tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 23) and next week.”

The email reportedly said anyone registering still had to be eligible under state rules, but the appearance of favoritism led to a call from Gov. Jay Inslee’s staff, and the invite-only clinic was shut down.

“If in fact they were giving preference to some VIP list, that’s not the way to do it. That is not acceptable for us. We need to give everybody a fair shot at the vaccine,” Inslee said at a news conference Tuesday. “We’ve got to maintain public credibility in the system. I’m told that whatever they were doing has stopped, and that’s good news.”

For its part, the hospital says the invitation-only slots were offered to about 4,000 people total, including volunteers, some patients, Overlake board members, employees and retired health providers.

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The rich don't have to worry about the $15 minimum wage job losses, nor do they have to worry when it comes time to get a vaccination early.

 

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