ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An email sent by a URMC employee on Jan. 12 to other URMC employees charged with raising money for the medical center references a “special clinic” that can provide the COVID-19 vaccine to “Executive Health clients and high level donors.”
The email’s author, Kellie Anderson, notes that the nurse in charge of this clinic already as a list of these “donors she’ll be vaccinating” and directs the staff to refer major donors asking for “special consideration/handling” to Christie Cullinan by 1/15.
This email coincided with the state’s decision to make anyone 65 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. It was already widely know that vaccine supply would not meet immediate demand.
Chip Partner, a spokesperson for URMC, told News 8 the email “was a mistake,” adding, “URMC leadership did not know about it, and did not approve it.”
Partner says Anderson was trying to create a vaccination list for donors so they could hold a session at a future date, but said that never happened.
That said, Partner acknowledged some of those who were vaccinated through URMC that week were donors with some being UMRC board members, but said, “there was no advantage given to donors.”
To be clear, the email did say, “we cannot guarantee donors a spot in the Special Patient Services vaccine clinic: we can only offer to make the request.”
It also noted that the URMC team “cannot ask our URMC partners to help a donor jump the vaccine queue.”
This email is coming to light as other medical facilities have come under fire for giving vaccine priority to donors and after New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has railed against attempts to allow some people to skip the line, especially as the state tries to get a good amount of the vaccine into poor and minority communities that have less access to health care than more affluent areas.