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Southern 7 Health Dept. warning about COVID-19 vaccine scams

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coronavirus scams

(WSIL) -- Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) is warning people to be on the lookout for scam artists who are promising COVID-19 vaccines or testing.

Staff at S7HD have already received calls from members of the public who are encountering these nationwide scams which are now popping up in southern Illinois

“It seems scammers and con artists are now preying on people’s fears surrounding COVID-19 and their desires to get vaccinated against this disease,” said Nathan Ryder, Outreach Coordinator for Southern Seven’s Contact Tracing program.

Some of the many scams include telephone calls or text messages promising vaccine appointments in exchange for a payment over the phone. Online ads have also started appearing on Facebook and Craigslist selling COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Scammers have also started the old-fashioned trick of going door to door offering the promise of COVID-19 vaccines or even in-home COVID testing, some for payments of $150 or more.

“Southern Seven will never ask you for your social security number, Medicare number, or bank account information,” Ryder said. “The information we will ask you for when we call to schedule your vaccine appointment is very limited. We will also never ask you for a payment for a COVID-19 vaccine. We provide these vaccines for free.”

The best way to get a COVID-19 vaccine is to sign up with your local health department’s vaccine registry, or to contact a trusted provider like your local pharmacy or family physician.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also has an online list of approved vaccine providers. In the S7 region, the following vaccine providers are also working to vaccinate the public:

  • Bode Drug – Vienna, IL
  • Bode Drug – Mounds, IL
  • Medicap Pharmacy – Anna, IL
  • Massac Memorial Hospital – Metropolis, IL
  • Hardin Co. Hospital – Rosiclare, IL
  • CHESI Clinic – Cairo, IL
  • CHESI Clinic – Golconda, IL
  • Rural Health Clinic – Anna, IL

It’s important to note that some trusted vaccine providers may charge an administrative fee to give you the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an accepted practice and generally the vaccine provider will bill your insurance company for that fee which is usually around $25. If you’re uninsured, you will not be forced to pay an administrative fee.

S7HD adds that COVID-19 vaccines are still in very limited supplies. S7HD will call individuals on their registry and schedule appointments for vaccination clinics throughout our seven counties.

Appointments will be scheduled utilizing the information submitted to the S7HD vaccine registry.