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Prepare now to crack down on any vaccine cheating

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced he would crack down on medical providers who divert COVID-19 vaccines to nonpriority patients or sell them on the black market. He warned of sanctions for such actions, which could include loss of licenses to practice medicine.

Tough sanctions for such misbehavior should be the norm for all states, including Connecticut, and, if necessary, backed by federal legislation.

Money and privilege can buy a lot of things, but it should not put anyone ahead of the line of a health worker or individuals judged at high risk. Impartial expert panels should determine the priority of who should get access to the vaccines first.

At this point there are not reports of widespread favoritism in making the vaccine available. A 33-year-old Disney employee did take to Facebook to note she received her vaccine due to a family connection at a community hospital.

That is not good and it is unacceptable.

People will have to be patient. Connecticut is at the very start of distribution − Phase 1a. The state’s goal is for all state residents to have access to the vaccination, of course, but the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont notes that this is unlikely to occur until late spring or early summer.

Eligible under Phase 1a are health care personnel, long-term care facility residents, and first responders at risk of COVID-19 exposure in furtherance of their duties.

Pressure to access a black market or divert vaccines could well increase as more doses and vaccine varieties become available. Now is the time for state and federal officials to plan how they would deal with violations of distribution regulations.

People demanding access to vaccines is a better problem to have than a large segment fearing taking them. Surveys show the needle moving in the right direction concerning the willingness of people to receive a shot. But that's a challenge for later. The problem now is scarcity. And jumping the line can't be allowed.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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