DC Department of Health warning residents about COVID-19 scams

As the District ramps up its efforts to have residents vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, the health department is warning people to be wary of scammers.

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Director of the District of Columbia Health Department LaQuandra Nesbitt on Monday warned people that all vaccines are vetted, approved, and provided through the DC Department of Health.

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In addition, the hospitals, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics that distribute the vaccine must be authorized by the health department.

"There are no off-site sales of vaccines, no one will have to purchase a vaccine for a price, and have it administered by a person who considers themselves a healthcare provider or otherwise," Nesbitt said.

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According to the mayor’s office’s Monday presentation, "When you receive a real vaccine, it will always be free."

In December, the District’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking published a warning about vaccine scammers that included a list of things to look out for, including:

- Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee.

- Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.

- Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine. • Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee.

- Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine.

- Claims of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.

- Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources. Issued: December 24, 2020

- Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

To read more details, and for tips on how to avoid scammers, click here.

To report a scam in the District, call (202) 727-4159.