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Yukon Town Irked After Gaming CEO, Wife Scam COVID Vaccine

Rod and Ekaterina Baker posed as local workers to qualify for shots meant for vulnerable community
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2021 7:21 AM CST

(Newser) – An Indigenous community in Canada is miffed after the CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. and his wife posed as new workers at a local Yukon motel and got the COVID vaccine, doses of which had been allotted to a tiny town due to its vulnerable rural community. Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker tells the CBC that Rodney Baker, 55, and 32-year-old Ekaterina Baker, a Russian-born "aspiring actress," flew from Vancouver to Whitehorse on Jan. 19. Then, instead of quarantining for two weeks as required by the territory's COVID rules, the two chartered a plane to Beaver Creek two days later and got the Moderna vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic that had been set up in the town of 100, Streicker says. Locals got suspicious, however, when the Bakers asked for a ride to the airport after getting their shots. Officials tracked them down at the Whitehorse airport, waiting for a flight back to Vancouver after they'd flown in from Beaver Creek.

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Per the Globe and Mail, the GCGC said Monday that Rod Baker has resigned his CEO post, as well as stepped down from its board of directors. Streicker says local authorities will now be putting in place safeguards to make sure no one tries to take advantage of the vaccine-distribution system again, though he says he doesn't think it's likely it will happen again quite like this. "We ... didn't anticipate that anyone would go to this length to effectively deceive the team," he tells the CBC. "We all felt pretty offended." Meanwhile, the Yukon's White River First Nation wants more severe penalties for the Bakers, who were each charged two $450 fines, per the Global News. "That’s gotta be jail time," a WRFN member says. "I can't see anything less." Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia's top health official, had similarly harsh words. "They put a community at risk for their own gain, and that is appalling," she said. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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