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Coronavirus Vaccine Update, Plus a Warning on COVID-19 Scams

Jalesa Campbell
Updated Feb 17, 2021
2 min read

What you need to know:

  • The FDA has released the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 16 years and older
  • The first vaccine was administered on Monday to a New York critical care nurse
  • More vaccinations are expected as vials arrive to different parts of the country

In less than a week, the FDA has granted emergency authorization use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 16 and older (ABC News). Pfizer has delivered almost 3 million doses to hundreds of locations across the U.S., with the first vaccinations rolling out on Monday.

Sandra Lindsay, a New York critical care nurse, received the first vaccination on Monday. Health care workers and nursing home residents have been given priority for the vaccine. More doses are expected to be administered this week with millions of Americans likely to receive the vaccine in December. The FDA is scheduled to have a hearing for the Moderna vaccine on December 17.

While the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer has been cleared, officials warn of scams on treatments, PPE, and testing.

Several Warnings on Coronavirus Scams

ABC News 7 reports that Coronarivus vaccine scams are already underway on the East Coast. Some are using a sense of urgency and saying that they can help people get the vaccine sooner. Urgency is a popular tactic used by scammers to get you to act fast. Steve Bernas, president and CEO with the BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois, told ABC News 7, “If they want you to do something quick — in 30 minutes, that’s usually the tip-off to the rip-off.”

The Associated Press News reports that the FDA is concerned about consumers being misled about treatment; but, the organization is actively monitoring for fraudulent COVID-related claims, urging consumers to beware of “miracle cures” and “quick fixes.”

Similarly, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning consumers about scammers offering COVID vaccinations, treatments, or cures. Colleen Tressler with the FTC says the organization has seen many “COVID treatments,” including “gemstone bead bracelets, water filtration systems, indoor tanning,” and others. In summation of these claims, Tressler writes, “If there’s a medical breakthrough, you’re not going to hear about it for the first through an ad or sales pitch.”

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is also speaking out about COVID-19 vaccine trial scams that come through a text or a message on social media, promising payment, according to CBS Boston.  In a statement, the organization said, “Don’t be tempted by the opportunity to help scientists while making extra cash” (CBS Boston). Ultimately, make sure you do your homework before volunteering to help out.

Dr. Fauci still encourages taking precautions for your safety despite the delivery of a vaccine. It may be the spring or summer of next year before those who are not at high-risk can receive a vaccination.

How to Avoid Falling Victim to COVID-19 Fraud

There are some simple ways you can protect yourself from falling victim to a Coronavirus scam, whether it be about a vaccine, treatment, personal protective equipment, or something else.

  • Use government sources like the CDC.gov for information about COVID-19. Don’t be so fast to believe what you see or hear on social media, and always be wary of emails claiming to be from a governmental source.
  • Talk with your health care provider before trying any product that claims to work as a treatment or cure for COVID-19. Remember that any information about treatment is likely to be publicly broadcast and not shared solely by text, email, or in an advertisement. Always do your research.
  • Use trusted retailers if you’re looking for protective wear, like masks and gloves. Several major retailers offer these protective products, and never share more personal information than you need to when making a purchase.

For more information about Coronavirus scams, you can visit the FTC’s website to stay informed.

 

Photo Credit

Photo by Jackyenjoyphotography  /  Yulia Reznikov  /  GettyImages


Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.

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