Is there an underground bidding war for the COVID-19 vaccine?

It’s not horribly surprising that well-endowed people with bloated bank accounts are throwing some of that loot around, is it?

Los Angeles’ super-rich are offering medical clinics as much as $25,000 for priority access to coronavirus vaccines, the Los Angeles Times reported.

On December 11, a drug created by Pfizer and BioNTech became the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency authorization for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration.

And in the last fortnight, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health have both said that healthcare personnel and care home residents should be first in line.

But that hasn’t deterred those with ample financial means from trying to secure inoculations for themselves with big-cash offers.

“We get hundreds of calls every single day,” Dr. Ehsan Ali, the head of Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor, told the Times. “This is the first time where I have not been able to get something for my patients.”

Another LA-based doctor, Dr.Jeff Toll, who works with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told the Times a patient asked him: “If I donate $25,000 to Cedars, would that help me get in line?'”

“People are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars,” he said, with the Times saying Toll declined the proposition.

Well of course. What do we expect him to say?

Who would tell the L.A Times, “Uh yeah. They gave me $25,000 cash so I slyly moved them to the front of the vaccine line.” I don’t doubt Dr. Toll’s sincerity or honesty, but there are many doctors and many more administrators who stay off the media radar.

Doctors are human and we all need to make a living, right?

Besides, often it is not the M.D.’s who dole out the so-called life-saving vaccinations or who configure the waiting line. Medicine is big business and it is guided by avarice as much as any other industry.

The vaccine roll-out will widen in the coming months, so this black market effect will dissipate, but right now I imagine it’s a raging auction behind the curtains.

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