Vaccine courtesy Unsplash

From the Health Center at Auraria: Vaccine Scams to Avoid

February 25, 2021

Although the Auraria campus distribution site did not receive any vaccine this week, we are continuing to explore a variety of avenues to ensure that vaccine will be forthcoming. Steve Monaco, director of the Health Center at Auraria, asked that I educate our campus community about vaccine-related scams to avoid.

Guest Contributor: Ruben Zorrilla, MD, Health Center at Auraria, Medical Director


Scams

“Finally, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to millions, including health care workers, chronically ill people and seniors. But with wider availability comes the inevitable spike in vaccine scams,” according to a Feb. 4 CNN online article.

“Fraudsters are promising early access to vaccines or even a personal shipment of vaccines — at a cost, of course. But their offers aren’t legit, and those they scam could end up with their personal information exposed and money stolen without ever getting the vaccine.”

Types of scams:

You’re asked to pay for your vaccine

You will not have to pay to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn. It is free. If you’re asked to pay or provide private information, that’s not legit.

You’re offered early access for a fee

If you receive an offer to get your COVID-19 vaccine early for a fee, ignore it. No health department or vaccination site would vaccinate someone ahead of schedule if they paid for it.

You’re told to pay to put your name on a waiting list

Your local health department or vaccination site will not reach out to you and ask for payment to be put on a waiting list. Some vaccination sites have created waiting lists, but you won’t be asked to pay for them.

You’re asked to schedule appointments through unverified platforms

There are “vaccine hunters” who are promising people that they can get them an appointment. You should avoid registering through sites unaffiliated with your health department or pharmacy. It’s best to schedule an appointment through your health department or local pharmacy.

You’re told to pay to have the vaccine shipped to you

Vaccine distributors are not shipping doses of the vaccine to individuals, and you should not administer the vaccine to yourself. You should only receive a vaccine at authorized vaccination sites, which you can find through your state health department or the CDC.

You’re made to take additional tests before you get a vaccine

You will not be made to take an antibody test or COVID-19 test before you receive your vaccine. So if you get texts, calls or emails that claim you should buy a test before you go, that’s a scam. You do not need to undergo any additional medical tests before or during your vaccine appointment.

How to avoid getting scammed

  • Staying vigilant and informed is the best way to prevent scammers from accessing your money or private information.
  • It’s best to reach out to your health care provider directly to get the facts, rather than solely interact with an unknown person through email or text.
  • If an unknown source asks for your Social Security number, bank account information or insurance ID, don’t give it to them.

Bottom Line

If you’re sent communication about vaccines that seems fishy, check it out with your local health department. Don’t give out personal information such as your bank account information or Social Security number when solicited by someone you don’t know — no health department or vaccination site would require that information to get you vaccinated. And you should only be vaccinated at authorized vaccination sites.

Where To Report Vaccine Scams:

  • The Federal Trade Commissions’ ReportFraud.ftc.gov, which shares information with law enforcement
  • The FBI’s tipline, at tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI
  • The HHS’ Office of Inspector General, at tips.hhs.gov or 1-800-HHS-TIPS
  • The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker



VACCINE AVAILABILITY

We continue to await word from state and federal health officials on when the vaccine will be available for our Point of Dispensing (POD) site at the Fifth Street Garage. We remain hopeful that we will have the resources in hand to start vaccinations for priority groups toward the beginning of March. We anticipate that the Auraria POD vaccination process will extend into the fall semester as we follow state priority guidelines for Phase 1 (Winter), Phase 2 (Spring), and Phase 3 (Summer).


CURRENT ELIGIBILITY | PHASE 1B.1 and 1B.2

  • We are required to follow the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) phase categories for vaccine prioritization.
  • CCD, MSU Denver, CU Denver, and AHEC have compiled lists of those who qualify for Phase 1B.1 and 1B.2.
  • When vaccine becomes available, random selection from each of the lists will occur and individuals will receive an email invitation from Primary Bio, with instructions for scheduling a vaccine appointment. We expect this to occur in the next several weeks. Please note that, due to supply limitations, not all individuals in a defined category will receive email invitations at the same time. 
  • The Auraria Executives Council (AEC) continues to advocate with state officials for higher education to be included in priority categories.
  • At this time, only campus constituents will be eligible for the vaccine once we have a supply.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VACCINE