42-year-old Napa Co. supervisor under fire for getting COVID-19 vaccine

This story started from an anonymous tip to the I-Team, saying in part, "Instead of giving the dose to someone who needed it, she took it for herself."
NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- On a day when Napa County announced they have run out of coronavirus vaccines, a 42-year-old county supervisor is facing criticism for getting the shot herself. This story started with a tip to the I-Team's Dan Noyes. We take our role seriously to hold politicians accountable, and to investigate complaints that you have. That's what happened here.

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Napa County officials tell us they ran out of COVID-19 vaccines as of noon Wednesday. 17,583 people have received the shot, but they won't schedule any further appointments until the state sends more vaccine.

Janet Upton is the Napa County spokesperson.
Dan Noyes: "Are all people above 75, are they all taken care of now?"

Janet Upton: "We're making a big dent in that population, certainly."

But, the I-Team has confirmed Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos received the COVID-19 vaccine at a county site last week. She's 42-years-old. Napa is currently allowing vaccines for people 65 and above.

Dan Noyes: "Did she have any pre-existing condition that would have allowed her to jump to the front of the line."

Janet Upton: "I'm not aware of that, I couldn't speak to that because of HIPAA, but no."

This story started with an anonymous tip criticizing Ramos, "Everyone knows she doesn't qualify and she knew vaccines were going to run out, so instead of giving the dose to someone who needed it, she took it for herself."

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Belia Ramos has been available to ABC7 News several times, often to discuss wildfires, but she is not available to discuss this. We've been communicating with her for two days, and Ramos tells us she's too busy with meetings for even a brief interview.

She referred us to her Facebook post overnight, saying she was at the vaccination center to record a public service announcement, and received one of the leftover shots.

Ramos said on Facebook, "And so there was one dose left and I was fortunate enough, being one of the standby list people, that I received my first shot of Moderna."

The county allows people on a waiting list to sit in their cars and standby, in case someone cancels or there are extra shots that day. In any case, Dr. Michael Wasserman of the California Vaccine Advisory Committee tells us, Ramos should have refused the vaccine:

"If someone had come, if I was in her shoes, that's what I would have said, 'How come you're offering it to me? We've got a 90-year-old out there that hasn't been vaccinated yet. How do we get it to that person?'"

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Late Wednesday afternoon, Supervisor Ramos texted Dan Noyes:

"I was present at our vaccination clinic, not to get a vaccine but instead to provide vital community information. I had just completed a Spanish PSA, which included a simulated vaccination, directed at those in the Latinx community who may be hesitant about getting the vaccine. As part of the waste management strategy, once the clinic closed and all others on site were vaccinated, I was administered a dose. In doing the PSA and getting vaccinated, my hope is that I can help those on the fence about getting the vaccine make a decision that ultimately gets us to the level of immunity we need in order to protect our community. Part of leadership is leading by example. I rolled up my sleeve and got vaccinated."

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