Letters to the Editor: A vaccine rollout for affluent white people who drive

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Los Angeles resumes COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday at the Hansen Dam vaccination site including several other large-scale sites in L.A. that were forced to close late last week when shipments containing at least 63,000 does of COVID-19 vaccines were held up due to a winter storm battering much of the country. COVID-19 vaccinations resume with priority to those who lost appointments. With 92,000 does of the Moderna vaccine arriving in L.A. the city resumed vaccinations. Hansen Dam on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times).
Vehicles clog the city of Los Angeles' Hansen Dam Recreation Area mass vaccination site on Feb. 23. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Whether it's about vaccine codes, unemployment checks, speed limits, disabled placards, college entrance or red-lining minority residents, as one of my high school math teachers liked to say, "You lie, you cheat, you steal." ("False claims in texts, emails led to misuse of vaccine codes intended for those in need," Feb. 24)

Where there's a buck to be made, a way to get over on the next person, an opportunity to indulge your power or abuse the system, we stampede over one another to do so, breaking rules and laws with abandon along the way. It's an ugly picture, I know, and it's been modeled at the top for years.

Our society is going to need something akin to a Marshall Plan to recover; among the many challenges we face in that recovery is overcoming our basest inclinations so we stop doing to our neighbors what we find abhorrent.

Mitch Paradise, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I appreciate your efforts in bringing attention to the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine shots. However, as someone who works extensively with food pantries and on economic outreach to underserved communities, I believe your focus on the unbalanced racial distribution of vaccine doses misses the mark.

The inequity actually has to do with poor communities being shut out of the vaccine access process. Particularly, people without internet access and cars have been left out, whether they are Black, brown or any other identity.

If equity is the goal, then mobile vaccine clinics should be dispatched at food pantry locations and other places where underserved people are present. The Times needs to be better about covering the current economic plight of the bottom 25% and not putting too much emphasis on racism as the reason for everything.

Julie Lie, Long Beach

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To the editor: Is anyone the least bit surprised by the current vaccine inequity between white areas and largely minority areas of Southern California?

I'm not, and as soon as vaccines became available, I knew this is how it would pan out. Sadly, it's the way of the world, and no matter the issue, affluence puts you at the front of the line.

It's been that way since 1776.

Mike Aguilar, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: I've worked on the software for systems with promotion codes or discounts that are intended for specific groups.

It's baffling that the state's code system for vaccine appointments wouldn't tell people that the codes were intended for minority residents when they entered one, and then also have some sort of validation that the people using the codes actually lived in the areas intended for distribution.

Why does our government continue to bungle even simple things like that?

Philip Wilcox, Los Angeles

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To the editor: There are other issues with vaccine access in California. Consider the requirement for a person to be in a vehicle to obtain vaccines at mega sites like Dodger Stadium.

I do not own a car and am confined to an electric wheelchair. I do not own an accessible van. Therefore, I cannot access drive-through vaccines, in the same way I cannot access drive-through food pantries.

I remain hungry and unvaccinated even though I am tech-savvy and 67 years old. In fact, I have assisted elderly friends and neighbors with scheduling their vaccine appointments.

In earthquakes, fires, floods and pandemics, poverty hurts.

Elizabeth Campos, Ventura

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.