Councilmembers condemn preferential vaccine offerings by some area hospitals, request state prohibit such practices in legislation

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

In the wake of reports that three King County hospitals had offered special access to COVID-19 vaccines to donors and board members, the King County Council passed legislation Tuesday condemning the activity and requesting state lawmakers to prohibit such practices in the future.

Sponsored by Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rod Dembowski, Dave Upthegrove, and Girmay Zahilay, the motion calls out local hospitals for offering special access to high-profile donors, volunteers and board members, and points to the existing inequities exacerbated by such practices.

“I was appalled to learn that some hospitals in our region were offering preferential treatment to donors, board members, families, friends and connected community members when it came to administering vaccines,” Kohl-Welles said. 

“I am pleased that the Council approved my motion, 2021-0086 that calls on Governor Inslee and the State Legislature to take steps to prohibit medical systems from distributing vaccines inequitably and giving preferential access to donors or board members or anyone who is not officially eligible.”

The motion speaks to such practices as not only unethical, but in complete contrast to the common medical oath to do no harm.

In response, the councilmembers asked that Gov. Jay Inslee issue an executive order on the matter and that the state Legislature take action to prevent inequitable access to vaccines.


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