LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — If being a mom is a full-time job, caring for a child with a medical condition can feel like working overtime.
And Elizabeth, a Burbank mom of two, knows just how difficult it can be — especially during a pandemic. She says her son was born with a disability that makes him susceptible to getting sick and suffering seizures.READ MORE: Burbank Sues To Enforce Closure Order Against Tinhorn Flats; Seeks Permission To Cut Off Electricity, Padlock Doors
“He has eight different specialists that he sees,” she said. “And even though we are in a pandemic, that doesn’t stop.”
The state of California now says that parents or caretakers of children with certain disabilities or conditions could be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with the healthcare worker group in Phase 1A.
A generic letter is posted on the Department of Developmental Services website for anyone to access.
Elizabeth said she printed out the letter along with a detailed note from her child’s doctor and made an appointment to get vaccinated at the Six Flags Magic Mountain site, but when she showed up, she said the workers would not take her paperwork and turned her away.
“We’re here for a vaccine,” she said of the experience. “Why are you bringing over a security guard and treating us like we’re trying to pull something over on you?”
On Thursday, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, suggested that some families were trying to use the letter, without valid medical reasons, to cut in line.
“Lots of people were Xeroxing it,” she said. “Frankly, lots of people were using it inappropriately to claim that they were in fact the caretakers, the healthcare takers, of their children.”READ MORE: Firefighters Battle Blaze At Strip Mall In Paramount
Elizabeth said some of the workers at the vaccine site would not even look at the note provided by her child’s doctor.
“I felt very helpless,” she said. “To, you know, to have a child who has medical needs, there is only so much we can do to protect them.”
And while Ferrer expressed concern about people trying to game the system, she admitted that she did feel badly for families truly in need.
“I feel so bad about this, but there are literally hundreds of people every day that come to our sites that are not really in an eligible group,” she said.
Elizabeth said she hopes the state and counties will issue new guidelines to help parents like her prove they’re eligible when they show up for the shot.
In the interim, she said all she could do is wait and hope that her son stays healthy.
“If our goal is to get a vaccine out to as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible, then having confusion and chaos at the vaccine site, that’s the opposite of getting things out efficiently,” she said.MORE NEWS: 'Absolutely Reckless': California Governor Slams Texas Move To Lift Mask Mandate
Ferrer said the county was already working with regional centers to offer personalized letters that could prove someone’s eligibility to get a vaccine.