Coronavirus Vaccine Scams
1. SCAM: You're asked to pay for your vaccine
You will not have to pay to receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it is your turn. If you are asked to pay or provide private information, that is not legit. It is possible your vaccine provider will charge you an "administration fee" for giving you the shot. You can be reimbursed for this fee through your insurance or, if you're not insured, through the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund, per the CDC. If you cannot afford the fee, though, you will not be turned away.
2. SCAM: 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. The FBI warned of this scam in December 2020, and reports from the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker show that unknown scammers have sent unsolicited texts to random users, offering them access to the vaccine regardless of where in the vaccination schedule they fall.
3. SCAM: You’re told to pay to put your name on a waiting list
As mentioned above, your local health department or vaccination site will not reach out to you and ask for payment to be put on a waiting list.
4. SCAM: You’re asked to schedule appointments through unverified platforms
Unless you are certain your local health department is scheduling vaccine appointments on Eventbrite or similar platforms, you should avoid registering through sites unaffiliated with your health department or pharmacy. In one Florida county where health officials did not use Eventbrite, scammers made fake accounts and charged applicants to make vaccine appointments in the county anyway. It is best to schedule an appointment through your health department or local pharmacy.
5. SCAM: 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.
6. SCAM: 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 is a scam. As reported by CNET and AARP, you don't need to undergo any additional medical tests before or during your vaccine appointment.
7. Scam: Emails, text messages and phone calls from fake vaccine centers and insurance companies
You may receive an unsolicited message or call from someone claiming to work for a vaccine center, pharmacy, or insurance company. These scammers might ask for personal and medical information to find out if you are eligible to receive the vaccine -- but everyone is eligible to receive the vaccine, just at different times.
Ignore phone calls and text messages from unfamiliar numbers. Do not open suspicious emails and definitely do not click any links or provide personal information. Also, when it is time for you to get the vaccine, only go to a reputable pharmacy or health care facility.
8. Scam: Online ads for vaccine doses from unofficial sources
Scammers are advertising COVID-19 vaccines as if a vaccine is any other product you can order online. Any advertisement that does not come from an official public health source is likely attempting to lead you to a phishing website where scammers can steal your personal or financial information. Ignore any ads from unofficial sources. Official public health sources include the CDC, WHO, FDA and other government agencies, as well as hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical centers.
How to report COVID-19 scams: