While millions of Americans wait for the COVID-19 vaccine, hospital board members, their trustees and donors around the country have gotten early access to the scarce drug or offers for vaccinations, raising complaints about favoritism tainting decisions about who gets inoculated and when.
In Rhode Island, Attorney General Peter Neronha opened an inquiry after reports that two hospital systems offered their board members vaccinations. A Seattle-area hospital system was rebuked by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee after it offered COVID-19 vaccination appointments to major donors. And in Kansas, members of a hospital board received vaccinations during the first phase of the state’s rollout, which was intended for people at greater risk for infection.
Hospitals in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia also have faced questions about distributing vaccines, including to donors, trustees and relatives of executives.
The disclosures could threaten public confidence in a national rollout already marked by vaccine shortages, appointment logjams and inconsistent standards state to state for determining who’s eligible.