New York Attorney General Letitia James is warning New Yorkers about potential scams offering early access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
While New York has begun the process of vaccinating nursing home residents, nursing home staff who regularly interact with patients and high-risk medical workers, the vaccine will not become widely available to the general public for several more months.
“Throughout this pandemic, scammers have found ways to victimize the public, with the vaccine distribution process being their latest method for fraud,” James said. “I encourage the public to report suspected illegal activity to my office.”
Here are some tips to help New Yorkers avoid vaccine-related scams:
Be wary of anyone calling or emailing you with offers of a vaccine and do not give out your Social Security number, personal credit card, or bank account information. No one from a vaccine distributor, health care company, or private insurance company will ask for this information.
If you have health insurance, you should not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine while the pandemic remains a public health emergency. If you don’t have health insurance, the provider may only charge an administration fee. However, in many instances, you likely will not be required to pay the administration fee.
You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine or to get into a vaccine clinical trial.
If you get an e-mail about a COVID-19 vaccine or clinical trial, check the sender’s email domain to make sure it matches the website of the organization sending the e-mail and be wary of clicking on any hyperlinks or providing any login or other personal information.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use so far. The Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine is authorized for use in individuals 16 years of age and older, while the Moderna vaccine is authorized for use in individuals 18 and older.