Story at a glance
- When COVID-19 vaccines were first approved in the United States and other countries, there was high demand for the limited supply.
- Some tried to cut the line, including two white millionaires who were caught after fraudulently getting vaccines intended for Indigenous peoples.
- The Canadian couple was recently fined $2,300 Canadian dollars for breaking public health rules.
How much does a COVID-19 vaccine cost? For two millionaires, it cost $2,300 in Canadian dollars — or about $1,870 USD — to fraudulently receive vaccines intended for the country’s Indigenous population, which was disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In January, a wealthy Canadian couple flew from Vancouver to the village of Beaver Creek and misrepresented themselves "in various ways" to get vaccinated, skipping the line and taking doses away from the First Nation community, which was particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Casino executive Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife, 32-year-old actress Ekaterina Baker, have been spared the maximum penalty — six months in jail — and ordered to pay about $1,870 in fines, reported The Guardian.
The couple pled guilty to a “high level of deception” in breaking public health rules, but a $5,000 Canadian dollar —or roughly $4,000 USD — donation to the global Covax vaccination effort reportedly earned them leniency. Their lawyer reportedly said they “apologize unreservedly for their actions.”
“They had every opportunity to just give me a call. I don’t care if they’re wealthy or not – just be a human. What they did was morally wrong,” Janet Vander Meer, the First Nation's COVID-19 interagency team volunteer lead who read a community impact statement at the hearing, told The Guardian. “The one thing that makes me feel good is if you search ‘the Bakers’ and ‘Beaver Creek’ online, you see very clearly what these people did and how that’s affected them. And I think that’s more of a just punishment than what came down in court today.”
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