Couple accused of skipping vaccine line must wait for second dose, health ministry says

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver couple accused of skipping the line to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will likely be waiting for some time before receiving a second dose.

Former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, allegedly travelled to Whitehorse from Vancouver, then chartered a plane to the small Yukon village of Beaver Creek where they misrepresented themselves to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

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The scheme, however, may have backfired as the possibility of receiving a second needed dose at an approved B.C. vaccination clinic is now outside of the prescribed 35-day window.

“There is no room in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan for people who deliberately put vulnerable populations at risk in order to receive their vaccine before the start of their eligibility group,” read a statement issued Tuesday by B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

People ages 18 to 59 are eligible to receive their first dose of the vaccine in Phase 4 of B.C.’s immunization plan, which is scheduled to start in July 2021.

The Bakers were discovered, according to Yukon Minister of Community Services John Streicker, preparing to fly back to Vancouver instead of living under quarantine as required by the territory.

Tickets filed with a court registry in Whitehorse last Thursday show Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker were each charged with one count of failing to self-isolate for 14 days, and one count of failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon.

On top of public backlash over social media, the couple drew the ire of B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth who described the act as “despicable.”

“I can’t believe I’ve ever seen or heard of such a despicable, disgusting sense of entitlement and lack of a moral compass,” Farnworth said when asked about recent incidents where people have been caught violating public safety measures.

Rodney Baker resigned on Monday as president and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corp., the company said.

For its part, the ministry hopes to keep the vaccination process clear and fair for British Columbians in the coming months.

“As we move toward immunizing the general public in Phases 3 and 4, there will be clear processes in place to ensure people can verify their age and that they are currently living in B.C.,” the statement continued.

“The pre-registration process will help ensure people wait their turn. The system will not allow people to book an appointment until their age category is eligible to pre-register for an appointment for the dose that they should be receiving.”

— With files from Gordon McIntyre and The Canadian Press

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