Some people desperate to get COVID-19 vaccine now

Some offer concierge physicians top dollar to skip line
Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 20:51:43-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Reports show some people are so desperate to get the new COVID-19 vaccine that they are offering boutique physicians thousands of dollars to jump the line — but doctors say that is not an option.

Money can certainly get you perks: personalized care, treatment, even at-home COVID tests.

"Concierge clients definitely get privileges," Dr. Donna Ni said. "They really don't want to go to the doctor's office. They want to be seen at home. So a lot of the outpatient services are actually delivered at the patient's home."

Dr. Ni owns San Diego Concierge Medicine, a boutique private practice offering medical and aesthetic services. With another surge in COVID-19 cases and the new vaccine roll-out, she says her clients are getting curious.

"They ask, 'How can I make sure I have plasma antibodies? How can I make sure I get Remdesivir? Do I qualify for Regeneron?'" Dr. Ni said.

Some reports show the rich and famous in Los Angeles are getting antsy, asking their concierge doctors to administer the vaccine now. Some are even offering thousands of dollars in donations to jump the line. But Dr. Ni says that is not possible.

"It is only to the hospitals, to the front lines, and none of my members are going to be able to get that," Ni said. "Pfizer is highly controlled by the government right now, so we just tell the clients to wait a little."

What they are doing now is preparing and connecting clients who fall in the second tier to hospitals with the vaccine.

"We want to make sure that our clients are one of the first in the second tiers," Ni said.

While there are no jumping tiers or skipping the line, Dr. Ni says concierge clients do get perks, a doctor personally advocating on their behalf to get care quickly.

"We are not trying to get them to a different priority group," Ni said. "We just want to make sure that when that priority group hits, they are eligible for care."

The only people who are eligible to receive the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines are hospital and emergency staff, as well as people at long-term care facilities. The timeline for Tier Two patients has not been announced.