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Virtual loophole allowed thousands to cut COVID-19 vaccine line at Beaumont

Posted at 5:47 AM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 05:47:08-05

(WXYZ) — The race to vaccinate continues in southeast Michigan, despite a hiccup at Beaumont Health prompting the cancellation of nearly 3,000 appointments.

According to the health system, someone found a virtual loophole in the scheduling system which allowed them to cut the line. All while vaccination efforts are set to ramp up in Wayne County this week.

Beaumont said someone found a weak stop in the epic software, its electronic medical record system, and then shared an unauthorized pathway that allowed them to bypass the state's priority vaccination group and just make an appointment.

The health system discovered it over the weekend and shut it down, but 2,700 people had already scheduled their appointments, it sounds like without realizing they were breaking rules.

Beaumont said it won't interrupt ongoing vaccine efforts and has notified the national Epic corporate office to prevent this from happening elsewhere.

“These appointments violate the ethical distribution framework Beaumont created based upon the State of Michigan's mandatory vaccine guidelines. We regret 2,700 people in our community became victims of this unfortunate incident,” Beaumont Health's senior VP said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wayne County said it is getting nearly 8,400 doses of the vaccine this week, almost double its shipment last week.

“While we are excited to see that our allocation has increased we are still concerned that we are not getting our fair and equitable distribution" County COO Genelle Allen said.

Supply has been an issue for Wayne County, which has had weekly shipments ranging from less than 1,000 doses to around 5,000 doses. Executive Warren Evans said it has slowed efforts to vaccinate essential workers and those over 65.

“I would like to get it but I don't mind waiting my turn, I know it’s in short supply right now," Joan Bellemare from Plymouth said.

Starting Tuesday, the new doses will help vaccinate K-12 teachers.

"We just want to make sure our Wayne County residents are getting their fair and equitable share," Allen added.

As for Beaumont, the health system said anyone who did make an appointment through this loophole will be notified that their appointment has been canceled.