Essential California: Why the Vaccine Honor System Matters

Hello and welcome to Essential California bulletin. This is Wednesday March 17th, and I write from Los Angeles.

As my colleagues Colleen Shalby and Hayley Smith report, millions of Californians with disabilities and underlying health conditions are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, but authorities will rely more than ever on trust and confidence. public honesty to ensure that the doses get to these. who need it most.

[Read the story: “California’s huge COVID-19 vaccine expansion relies on trust. Will cheaters stay away?” in the Los Angeles Times]

Unlike previous vaccination levels which focused on certain jobs or age groups – factors that required documented verification of vaccination sites – disabled and high-risk Californians will be asked to self-certify their eligibility, which means that they will not be required to present documents to a doctor.

It is a decision that potentially leaves room for fraud in a system already plagued by line cuts. But it is also a choice intended to protect the most vulnerable Californians.

Advocates say removing strict barriers to medical documentation benefits those most at risk and helps ensure fairness in the vaccine administration process.

“Deployment for people with disabilities should have the fewest burdens and the fewest obstacles, so people don’t have to prove things to get access to something we need,” said Charis Hill, writer , speaker and advocate for chronic disease. in Sacramento. Hill told me that they would rather risk some people cheating than make it difficult for people with disabilities who qualify for the vaccine.

Think about who can easily access a doctor’s note and how long it might take. For example, as Colleen and Hayley write, a person with a concierge doctor could easily get a doctor’s note within the day, while a person who is uninsured or underinsured, or has no of a regular health care provider, could end up without the necessary. Documentation.

Dr Aaron Kheriaty, director of the medical ethics program at UC Irvine and a member of the Orange County Vaccine Task Force, told my colleagues that the implementation of more stringent requirements such as doctors ‘notes would have swamped doctors’ offices and, more importantly, left large swathes of people out in the cold.

Héctor Manuel Ramírez, a disability rights advocate from Chatsworth who sits on the board of directors of Disability Rights California, described the documentation requirement as a significant challenge that would impose a disproportionate burden on Black, Latin American and Native American communities. – the same communities “which are decimated on the right. now, ”he said.

Ramírez has started dreading going to social media in recent months, as anger over the pandemic filled his feeds. “I can’t even go to Facebook anymore, because it’s like, ‘We lost this person, this person died’ over and over,” he said. He has lost four of his family members to COVID-19 in the past year. All four were disabled or had underlying health issues.

Californians with disabilities and underlying health conditions were briefly downgraded for vaccine distribution in January, when the state abruptly removed its levels in favor of a purely age-based rollout. The decision sparked confusion, distress and anger, and the state turned the tide in response to outcry from advocates at the birthplace of the disability rights movement.

Ramírez said his organization pushed the Newsom administration not to demand documents and praised the governor for finally listening to voters with disabilities.

Authorities have pleaded with unqualified Californians not to cheat the system. Staff at vaccination sites have regularly encountered people using forged documents to attempt to get vaccinated during previous eligibility periods, as Colleen reported last month. Even with guarantees and verification requirements, those determined to profit from the system will find a way to do so.

But in the end, some degree of fraud is far better than a system whose safeguards exclude the most vulnerable.

Ramírez said the overwhelming sadness of his Facebook feed started to ease over the past two days as his peers across LA County and across the state began posting messages about dating. and getting their shots.

“I think that tomorrow, when I go to be vaccinated at 9 o’clock in the morning, I will cry,” he told me Tuesday evening, his voice dense with emotion. He would mourn for his brother, who died as vaccines began rolling out in January, and for all those he had lost. But he “would also cry with happiness.”

And now, here’s what’s happening in California:

Riverside, Ventura and San Diego counties join others going red: California’s coronavirus canvas takes on a distinctive red tint this week, with 10 other counties – including San Diego, Riverside, Sacramento, Ventura and Santa Barbara – escaping the more restrictive rung of the color-coded reopening roadmap of State. Los Angeles Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday he expects the Republican-led effort to recall him from office to qualify for the ballot and amplified his attacks on key campaign supporters in nationwide television interviews. Los Angeles Times

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


As Hollywood reopens, can cinemas fully recover from the pandemic? Los Angeles – home to the movie industry and the nation’s largest box office market – is the latest major metropolitan area in the United States to reopen theaters. Los Angeles Times


Democrats loved Katie Porter when she criticized Trump. Now she makes them squirm. It’s a story about the House committee missions of a prominent California representative, but it doubles as a fascinating introduction to the power struggles, relationships, and internal baseball politics behind these. missions. Los Angeles Times

Orange County Representative Katie Porter is a progressive servant in a Republican-leaning, Irvine-centric district that the GOP is targeting for a pickup in 2022.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Two people have been arraigned on charges of indicting the San Francisco brownstone of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. As a condition of their release, the judge banned the duo from transporting eggs anywhere other than out of the grocery store. Local mission


Former District Attorney Announces Offer To Challenge Orange County District Attorney’s First Term The race is set to test the climate for justice reform in a county that has historically favored crackdown policies. Los Angeles Times

Eight dead in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors: Eight people, including several women of Asian descent, were gunned down Tuesday at a series of massage parlors in the Atlanta area, raising concerns that the victims would be targeted because of their race. Los Angeles Times


Two people have died after a massive explosion triggered by fireworks in an Ontario home rocked a residential neighborhood, causing a strong response from firefighters and law enforcement. Los Angeles Times


How California theme parks will enforce the out-of-state visitor ban: When they reopen, theme parks will be required to limit ticket sales to state residents under revised state guidelines. Orange County Register

A poem to start your Wednesday: “California” by Rafael Campo.

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Los Angeles: cloudy with a few intervals of sunshine, as a treat, 64. San Diego: partly cloudy, 63. San Francisco: gray, 54. San José: gray, 61. Fresno: mostly gray, 66. Sacramento: very gray, 63.


today Californian memory just Ralph De La Parra:

I remember going with my dad shopping at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles in the late 1940s and early 1950s. We drove from our house in Boyle Heights and parked in Bunker Hill Street, which at that time had many large private houses and apartment buildings. We then took Angels Flight to Hill Street and the market.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.

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