NJ hospital let wealthy donors, execs skip COVID-19 vaccine line: report

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A New Jersey hospital has been accused of allowing wealthy donors, executives and their relatives to skip the COVID-19 vaccine line, according to a report.

The Hunterdon Medical Center allegedly doled out shots to the privileged group at a time when only frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents were eligible, New Jersey 101.5 reported.

The outlet said it obtained documents from a whistleblower showing how two longtime donors and Hunterdon Healthcare CEO Patrick Gavin were vaccinated on Dec. 18, a day after the first shipment of 975 doses arrived at the hospital.

The CEO’s wife got her shot on Dec. 26, along with at least six other spouses and two adult children of fellow execs, medical directors or administrators at the healthcare network, the report said.

Several other hospital bigwigs, board members and their next of kin were also reported to have been vaccinated at a time when they were otherwise ineligible.

Among the family members to get the shot was the 22-year-old relative of the hospital’s Adult Hospitalist Service medical director, who received a dose on Jan. 3, before New Jersey’s first responders, including police and firefighters, were made eligible on Jan. 7.

A hospital spokesman on Tuesday maintained that the organization had followed all state regulations when it came to its vaccine supply.

The spokesman said the shot was offered to otherwise ineligible people — including employees, retired staff, relatives and volunteers — only when there was a risk of the doses going to waste.

“Only if doses were likely to go to waste were vaccines administered to individuals who did not have an appointment,” Jason VanDiver said in a statement to New Jersey 101.5.

“Again, only if eligible recipients who were healthcare personnel could not be recruited and excess doses were expected to go to waste, were others sought to receive the vaccine.”

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