Hollywood powerbrokers are offering doctors $10,000 bribes to skip California's vaccine queues and get the coronavirus jab.
One top Beverly-Hills medical practice claimed it has received dozens of offers from individuals - including entertainment stars - desperate to be vaccinated.
The situation is so bad that one senior entertainment executive described it as like the 'Hunger Games' as the rich and famous 'fight for their lives' to get the jab and bypass California's sluggish vaccination rollout.
Reports say some rich and famous people have been going to great lengths to skip the queue with private and boutique physicians, concierge health services, private flights to Florida for vaccine tourism.
Beverly Hills-based Dr Robert Huizenga, known for being actor Charlie Sheen's physician, told Variety his practice has been offered in excess of $10,000 by the elite who are desperate for the jab.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Beverly Hills-based Dr Robert Huizenga, known for being actor Charlie Sheen's physician, said his practice has been offered in excess of $10,000 by the elite who are desperate for the jab
The rich and famous in Los Angeles, California, are now using every trick up their sleeve to get vaccinated as millions of ordinary Californians wait their turn
'We've been offered bribes,' he said. 'We see people taking planes to every location. We've seen people try to transiently get into the healthcare profession or on staff at nursing homes, so they qualify for an early vaccine.'
Dr Huizenga revealed celebrities from the entertainment industry were well represented in those vying for an early spot for the vaccine in a 'fight for their lives'.
'You can't really blame them for pulling out all the stops,' he added. 'The state and government have set up a system that is really horrendous.'
'It's 'The Hunger Games' out there,' said one top entertainment executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, about the rush to get the vaccine.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has faced criticism over the state's slow vaccine rollout - California's stumbling blocks include sites running out of doses and an advisor to pause the use of ten per cent of its shots due to concerns over allergic reactions.
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Newsom is facing criticism over California's slow vaccine rollout - the state's stumbling blocks include sites running out of doses and an advisor to pause the use of ten per cent of its shots due to concerns over allergic reactions. Pictured: People queue as they wait for the vaccine at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
Californians aged 65 and older are now eligible for vaccines along with healthcare workers, first-responders, food and agricultural workers, teachers and school staff.
After those groups, immunization eligibility will be prioritized among the general public on the basis of age, Newsom said.
Newsom said California has tripled its pace of administering vaccines, reporting giving nearly 2.2 million doses out of 4.1 doses shipped to the state as of Saturday. The goal is to give 1 million more shots over the next 10 days.
The governor lifted stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday after seven weeks because that state is experiencing a 'flattening of the curve' in cases.
Governor Gavin Newsom said infection rates and hospital admissions have declined dramatically
Many are angered that those in Hollywood's positions of power are using their connections as millions wait.
'Industry people in these positions should be using their power to help and heal the system, not hurt it,' said one former healthcare worker who is now a media executive.
'It's bad behaviour,' said Dr Art Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at the NYU School of Medicine. He said he had heard of hospital donors trying to use their power to seek early access to the vaccine.