Michigan clinic receives ineligible COVID-19 vaccine sign-ups after patient posts confirmation link on Facebook 

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A medical clinic in Isabella County, Mich., had to turn away more than 20 people for COVID-19 vaccines this week after a confirmation email link posted by someone eligible for an appointment was widely shared on Facebook, according to a Jan. 27 Cadillac News report. 

Someone who signed up for the vaccine through the Central Michigan District Health Department's website shared their confirmation link on the social media platform, which let other people, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, use the link to try to set up their own appointments, Steve Hall, health officer at the department, told the publication. 

For the counties in Central Michigan District Health Department's jurisdiction, people must be at least 65 years old to sign up for the department's vaccine waitlist. Once their turn to get vaccinated gets closer, those people will receive an email from the department to make an appointment. 

"And part of that email basically says 'This is unique to you. It's an invite-only clinic. Please do not share this,'" Mr. Hall said. "Well, unfortunately, we had someone share the link on Facebook [on Jan. 25]." 

The health department worked with its EHR vendor to cancel the link that had spread on social media, and staff contacted individuals who didn't meet the current criteria to tell them they did not actually have appointments. However, about 25 people still showed up hoping to get vaccinated but were turned away by the clinic. 

Since the incident, the health department said it has strengthened the language in the email message that tells people not to share the registration link. 

 

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