Variety: Managers & agents: ‘have pivoted to helping clients and stars find vaccines’

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About a month ago, I covered a story about wealthy patients of concierge medical services trying to pay to get one of the two approved vaccines. At the time I thought we would be further along in the vaccination process than we are now. While there’s a lot of hope now that the Biden administration is in power, the incompetent a-holes in the Trump administration left absolutely no vaccine surplus nor even a rudimentary distribution plan. States are scrambling to administer the vaccine to frontline workers and people at-risk, and availability varies wildly by area. Los Angeles and California are among the hardest hit, and vaccinations are understandably difficult to get. Enter all the rich, powerful and famous people who want to jump the line. Variety has a new article about the lengths some are going through to get vaccinated. While some celebrities, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford, seem to have waited in line like everyone else, others are traveling on private jets to get the shot and sharing news about private doctors willing to give vaccinations.

Beverly Hills-based Dr. Robert Huizenga confirmed to Variety that his practice has been offered in excess of $10,000 by individuals, including members of the entertainment industry, desperate to get vaccinated.
“We’ve been offered bribes. 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,” said the physician, who has also appeared as an expert on the NBC weight loss competition show “The Biggest Loser…”

Managers, agents, producers and a few film directors have pivoted from their daily business to focus on helping clients and stars find vaccines for family members, insiders said. Some notable names are using their own shoe leather, not representatives, to seek out the vaccine.

Not all are content to navigate California’s byzantine vaccination process. Allen Shapiro, the 73-year-old former CEO of Golden Globes telecast producer Dick Clark Productions, was reported last week to have flown via private jet to Florida recently in search of the vaccine with friends. Sources tell Variety that Shapiro did fly private — but alone — to Miami. While some reports have decried this as an example of vaccine tourism, insiders said Shapiro owns property and conducts business in Florida.

Some Hollywood power players are aghast that people in the industry are using their connections as millions of healthcare workers, older citizens, teachers, and essential workers toil in line. As of January 15, reports citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that California has only administered 2,716 doses for every 100,000 residents.

Dr. Art Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at the NYU School of Medicine, said he has heard of hospital donors seeking early access to the vaccine, or about concierge doctors being asked to provide it early for their wealthy clients.

“It’s bad behavior. It should not be condoned. We should find ways to penalize it,” he said. “We’ve got 91-year-olds waiting, health care workers waiting. People who are wealthy can easily find ways to quarantine, mask, and stay isolated for another month or two, and more vaccine will become available.”

[From Variety]

The part that stuck out to me was the line about managers and agents working to get vaccines for their clients and their families. They’re making calls, using connections and trying to get deals for them, like they do for their careers. Only vaccinations should be reserved for people who work in healthcare, who are elderly or who have public-facing jobs and can’t afford to stay home. It’s infuriating that these rich a-holes think that they deserve to get vaccinated ahead of the people who serve them. However, there was a music industry executive, Irving Azoff, who was quoted as saying “I’m a 73-year-old cancer survivor. I recently had part of my intestine removed. Damn right I received the vaccine, and I’m glad I did. Everyone eligible should get vaccinated as soon as they can.” That is definitely understandable, I just hope he’s making contributions to healthcare organizations serving people in need.

I agree with the medical ethicist quoted at the end that these people are so privileged that they can easily quarantine a little longer. They probably have staff and friends they’re still hanging out with anyway. I see what the celebrities are doing on Instagram! Plus they can get tested every day if they want to! They should be penalized if they’re taking resources away from people who need them. No one is going to enforce that though, because that’s how the healthcare system works in our country. Those who can pay get the best care and people who can’t afford it have to fend for themselves.

Note that the celebrities featured here all waited their turn!

Photos credit: Kristine Wook, Steven Cornfield and Hakan Nural on Unsplash and via social media

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20 Responses to “Variety: Managers & agents: ‘have pivoted to helping clients and stars find vaccines’”

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  1. OriginalLala says:

    It’s this kind of behavior from the rich and powerful that starts revolutions.

    Shame on them for trying to literally take life-saving vaccines out of the arms of healthcare workers and the elderly!! also, F*ck them.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      There was an article yesterday (in WSJ or WaPo….forget which) in where doctors and hospitals in the North West were taking “donations” of 10s/100s of thousands of dollars from wealthy patients to “jump the line”. Those hospitals/drs should have to pay HUGE *PERSONAL* fines for this. I’d say lose their licenses/accreditation’s, but we need every health care worker right now.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Status quo.

  3. GuestwithCat says:

    My parents are over 80 and can’t get the vaccine. My mom has severe chronic pain and could not possibly tolerate the lines she would have to sit or stand in to get her vaccine at one of the few places in her county where the shots are being administered.

    It’s all so disgusting and any celebrity that is young and should wait for vaccines who takes advantage of the system will be immediately and totally canceled in my household if I hear about it.

  4. tcbc says:

    The actual quote says “trying to find vaccines for family members,” not themselves. And if they, or their family members qualify due to age or pre-existing conditions, then I don’t blame them. The distribution system in this country is a disaster, and there aren’t enough vaccines for the people who qualify for them in the first place. It’s Trump and his cronies made this every man for himself, even for those who are old or infirm.

    • liz says:

      My aunt is 83 years old and can barely use a computer. If it’s not in the Amazon account my cousin set up for her, she will not try. This same cousin takes care of all of her banking, pays her bills, etc. She still lives on her own, but has an aide most days (her choice – she’s comfortable where she lives and doesn’t want to live with her kids – “it’s too cold up North”).

      Scheduling for the vaccine where she lives is almost entirely on-line and there was no way she could do it for herself. So my cousin gave his siblings and their kids all of the necessary info – her Medicare no, etc. and all of them worked on getting her scheduled for a vaccine. She got her first shot on Monday.

      There is no reason it had to be this way. It privileges people who have internet access and/or have families that can help navigate the system. And those people often tend to be wealthier and whiter then the general population. And yes, I blame Trump and his cronies.

  5. Lexy says:

    Irving Azoff is absolutely not the role model here, he’s a pretty ruthless and toxic rich mogul. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s doing some pretty unethical things to make sure his family and clients get the vaccine as well. Eat the rich.

    • Lionel says:

      Neither is Allen Shapiro, who according to the article may or may not have flown to FL in search of a vaccine with or without friends (?) Sounds like someone at Variety has an axe to grind with him, which, ahem, is not surprising.

  6. ME says:

    I saw on the news the other day a doctor got in trouble for taking some of the vaccine for his own family members. It’s gross behavior on the part of many. Please stop this madness and wait your turn !

    • Pusspants says:

      @ Me: Any doctor that takes vaccine doses for family should be fined by the medical board for an ethics violation!

  7. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Color me shocked.

  8. guilty pleasures says:

    Just gonna take a minute to pile on with how this makes my blood boil!! They entitled @ssholes can go straight to…. Maralago!!!
    My 84 year old mother DESERVES this vaccine. Some rich POS bumping that line deserves public ridicule.

    • LAR says:

      Heck yeah! My mom is 73 and in cancer treatment and is waiting for availability. If I could get it for her, I would, but not by bumping other vulnerable people.

  9. Courtney B says:

    Steve Martin was answering questions on his social media about signing up and where the centers were.

  10. Golly Gee says:

    These self-entitled f**krs should have their face is plastered all over the media. A Canadian casino CEO with a $10 million a year salary, flew up to a remote indigenous village in the Yukon with his wife and lied about being employed at a local motel In order to get the vaccine – which they did get. They came from Vancouver which has a huge infection rate and didn’t self isolate as required once they reached the Yukon. Authorities became suspicious and stopped them as they were getting ready to fly out of the territory. Apparently there are transient workers that are employed in the village so the validity of their claim wasn’t questioned. They will be fined about $2000. Unbelievable. They need to be jailed.

  11. Anna says:

    There were statistics just released with a map of Chicago showing where the most covid deaths were–of course, in BIPOC neighborhoods of largely essential workers, especially since the city is so segregated–next to a map of where the vaccine had been distributed which was of course in the downtown and north side which are mostly white and wealthy. And yet the mayor is opening up restaurants and allowing parties and claiming that the vaccine is being rolled out. It’s such a load of b.s. Meanwhile, people are still not masking properly and everyone I know either has someone who’s gotten it or knows family and friends who’ve passed.

  12. Laura says:

    Google couple who falsely said they were working in the Yukon to jump the line. They are being publicly shamed, which is awesome.

  13. Laura says:

    Google couple who falsely said they were working in the Yukon to jump the line. They are being publicly shamed, which is awesome.

  14. L says:

    “They should be penalized if they’re taking resources away from people who need them. ” HA! HAHAHAHA haven’t you seen how the whole entire world works?