Once you receive the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be eager to share the news with your friends and family. But think twice before snapping a pic of your vaccination card and posting it on social media.
That’s because the card contains information you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Vaccination cards include your name, date of birth and where you were vaccinated — information identity thieves can use to their advantage. Plus, scammers can use your information to create imitation vaccine cards sold for profit.
“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is certainly worth celebrating, but don’t put yourself at risk for identify theft,” says Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health. “While we encourage everyone to receive the vaccine once they are eligible, posting a picture of your vaccine card afterward is discouraged.”
Rather than post a pic of your vaccination card, you can use this Facebook frame on your profile picture to announce that you’ve received the vaccine.
“It’s safe, easy to do and a great way to encourage your friends and family to also get the vaccine,” Dr. Harmon says.
Unfortunately, using information from vaccination cards posted online isn’t the only way scammers are using the COVID-19 vaccination effort to steal from others.
Here is some information from South Carolina DHEC you can use to help protect yourself and loved ones from scammers:
- State agencies, vaccine providers and vaccine makers will not contact you and ask for personal information over the phone.
- The only time you should expect to share personal information with an approved vaccine provider is when you make an actual appointment with a real vaccine provider.
- No one should pay or provide personal information under the promise of being provided early access to the vaccine.
If someone attempts to scam you, you should contact local authorities immediately, file a complaint with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission, according to DHEC.
Ideal environment for scammers
“Unfortunately, the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine coupled with widespread interest in vaccination creates an ideal opportunity for scammers,” Dr. Harmon says. “It’s important to remain vigilant and talk to vulnerable loved ones about what to look out for.”
To date, Tidelands Health has administered more than 15,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 10,000 doses to people 70 and older. Another 19,000 Phase 1a-eligible individuals remain on the health system’s wait list.
Due to extremely limited vaccine supply, the health system has temporarily halted accepting new vaccination requests, though Phase 1a-eligible individuals can sign up to be notified when the process resumes, likely in late April or early May.
To find a list of approved providers who are accepting appointments, please visit the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website.
Dr. Gerald Harmon
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Family Medicine Physician
Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.Learn More
Medical University of South Carolina
U.S. Air Force Regional Hospital
American Board of Family Medicine
Meet the Expert
Dr. Gerald Harmon
Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.