By CBSLA Staff

BURBANK (CBSLA) — Another family was turned away from getting a coronavirus vaccine in Los Angeles County, after believing they would be eligible under caretaker rules that allow the parents of severely ill or children with disabilities to be vaccinated.

Joel Trudgeon and his family aren’t mincing words. COVID-19 could be deadly for his daughter, who is medically fragile.

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The L.A. County Department of Public Health addressed the confusion in a briefing on Friday, claimed they were fixing the issue and re-training staff.

“The vaccine is life and death,” said Trudgeon. “I think if anyone in our household contracted COVID, it could end in tragedy for our family.”

Jo, as her family calls her, is a 23-year old woman with a heart as big as her smile, but Jo’s journey hasn’t been easy, for her or for her family.

“She has congenital degenerative neuromuscular disease. She sleeps with a BiPAP machine. She has lung issues. Cognitive issues,” Trudgeon said.

That’s why when Joel heard he and his wife qualified to get vaccinated as health care workers, they jumped at the chance, hoping to end the constant fear they could infect their daughter.

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They got their paperwork in order and made a vaccine appointment for Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

The state of California said that parents or caretakers of children with certain disabilities or conditions could be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with the health care worker group in Phase 1A.

“We did have a letter that the regional center provided with specific names on it stating that under the California health code, we were considered health care providers to our daughter because of her extreme situation,” Trudgeon said.

But when they got there to get the vaccine, Trudgeon’s wife was turned down.

“We could see the needles, then to have someone say, unfortunately, we can’t — disappointing is an understatement. It was an emotional gut-punch,” Trudgeon said.

Another family had a similar story, and L.A. County Public Health Director suggested that some issues could have happened because of families allegedly using a letter, without valid medical reasons, to cut in line.

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Public health officials said every caregiving parent who is eligible for vaccines should be able to get them, and they asked qualified parents who’ve been turned away, to reach out to them directly. They can be reached at the Customer Call Center by calling 888-700-9995 or by emailing ehmail@ph.lacounty.gov.