Millionaire Couple Fined After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine Meant for At-Risk Indigenous Residents
Vancouver couple Rodney and Ekaterina Baker were fined after receiving their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine after allegedly posing as workers in an Indigenous community in Canada's Yukon territory.
The Bakers did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Rodney, former head of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, and his wife chartered a plane to Beaver Creek from their home in Vancouver, Community Services Minister John Streicker says officials told him while speaking with Yukon News.
Streicker and Yukon's Health and Social Services did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.
The couple then allegedly violated their quarantine after flying and posed as local motel workers to get the vaccine meant for members of the White River First Nation. The community is at higher risk due to its elderly population.
CEMA (Civil Emergency Measures Act) officials inquired with the motel about the Bakers after the couple asked for a ride to the airport following getting vaccines.
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Once it was discovered the couple got the vaccine under false pretenses, enforcement officers found them at the airport and they were each given two fines under the territory's Civil Emergency Measures Act for failing to self-isolate and failing to follow their signed declaration, Yukon News reported.
The fines add up to $900.
"Effectively what they did was they put our community and our isolation team at risk," Streicker told CBC News. "I'm pretty angry at the whole thing."
Streicker added, "I think the problem is if someone thinks that they can come here to get a vaccine, that concerns me, and if they do so in a way that puts people at risk, that really concerns me, so I'm sure there'll be lots of conversation to come."
White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit told Yukon News, "We implore all Canadians to respect the vaccination rollout process and to not take similar actions. While we understand many want to have a vaccination immediately, it is not appropriate to skirt the rules put in place and approach our community in this way. WRFN was selected for vaccines given our remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care."
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In a statement, the WRFN organization said they do "not feel that this lenient punishment is appropriate for the gravity of the actions taken, given the potentially lethal effects to our community."
Chief Demit also claimed in the statement that Yukon's government didn't directly inform them about the violation, but rather they found out from the media.
The former head of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Rodney, resigned on Sunday following the scandal, according to Yukon News.
His wife, Katerina, is an actress who was in the 2020 films Fatman and Chick Fight.
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