Saturday, January 29, 2022

Contacted to get COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable others in BC and Alberta

Homeless and vulnerable people in British Columbia and Alberta have been approached with offers to pay for vaccinations against COVID-19 by those trying to fraudulently obtain vaccine cards.

Homeless and vulnerable people in British Columbia and Alberta have been approached with offers to pay for vaccinations against COVID-19 by those trying to fraudulently obtain vaccine cards.

Vancouver Coastal Health said on Thursday that people it has been contacted have been asked to get vaccinated using the person’s name and information.

“This behavior is reprehensible and we are disappointed that anyone would take advantage of vulnerable people in an attempt to circumvent the process of obtaining a BC Vaccine Card,” the health authority said in a statement.

“Future cases of fraud may be referred to local police authorities for follow-up action.”

In Alberta, Linda Pires-Railvas, a nurse at Edmonton Community Center, said a client told her in December that a stranger had approached to get the vaccine.

Pires-Relvas works for Boyle Street Community Services, a charity that works with homeless people in Edmonton.

“The customer herself shared that someone had approached her for vaccination using that person’s health card in exchange for paying $100,” she said.

His other friends were also contacted and they received multiple doses of the vaccine for different people, Pires-Relvas said.

Pires-Relvas said he is concerned about potential adverse reactions for these people taking more than the recommended dosage. She said it also reflects apathy towards those who are already struggling in the community.

“They don’t want to get vaccinated for whatever reason … but are not considering the health and potential harm to vulnerable people,” she said.

The Edmonton Police Service confirmed that it is investigating the allegation, which was reported earlier in the year.

Alberta Health Services said in a statement that serious adverse reactions with COVID-19 vaccines are rare, but the risk increases if doses are given within a short period of time.

People receiving their vaccines must provide a piece of identification, including an Alberta health care number, driver’s license, social insurance number, birth certificate or passport.

If one does not have a government-issued piece of identification, other methods can be used.

In December, B.C. health officials said that COVID-19 vaccination records that are suspected of being fraudulent recorded in the provincial registry were being reported to police.

The BC RCMP said they had no reports of homeless people being approached by strangers and offered cash for vaccination against COVID-19.

Vancouver police say no case has been filed with the department.

Vancouver Coastal Health said it has “successfully thwarted” efforts to undermine people’s access to the vaccine for them. It did not elaborate on those measures.

“Fake vaccination records are being removed from the Provincial Immunization Registry and BC Vaccine Cards are being cancelled,” it said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 13, 2022.

Canadian Press

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