Massachusetts

There Are Concerns About Vaccine ‘Imposters' in Mass., People Cheating to Get Shot

“None of us would push a senior or chronically ill person out of the way while trying to board the T,” Singer wrote. “If you know in your heart you’re not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, please don’t do a comparable thing in your rush to receive it.”

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Getting a vaccine in Massachusetts primarily relies on good faith when it comes to signing up -- only eligible people are supposed to get the shot right now.

“It is on the honor system,” said Dr. Kathleen Carey, a health economist at Boston University School of Public Health.

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People who qualify for the vaccine need to fill out a form when signing up for a shot declaring their eligibility, based on age or medical conditions.

“It needs to be signed and it is honesty under threat of perjury,” said Carey. “That’s a pretty strong incentive I think for people to be honest.”

In a Letter to the Editor in The Boston Globe, a Newton doctor wrote Monday that he met two impostors pretending to be medical professionals in order to get vaccinated.

Dr. Michael Singer says it happened at a clinic where he was volunteering last week. Singer says he’s met dozens of people trying to cut the line over the last month.

“None of us would push a senior or chronically ill person out of the way while trying to board the T,” Singer wrote. “If you know in your heart you’re not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, please don’t do a comparable thing in your rush to receive it.”

Starting Thursday, Massachusetts residents age 65 and over and those with two or more medical conditions can begin scheduling their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

For people who qualify based on medical conditions, they do not need copies of their medical records or a note from a doctor to prove it.

“The state’s not asking people to provide medical documentation and they shouldn’t because that’s complicated,” said Professor Wendy Parmet, an expert in public health law at Northeastern University.

She says asking for proof is not only impractical, but will deter people from getting vaccinated.

“A lot of people don’t have access to online medical records,” Parmet said. “And a lot of people don’t know how to navigate the system to get these things.”

She says people will do the right thing if they understand the vaccine rollout system and believe it’s fair.

“There’s really been a breakdown of community spirit, of social responsibility, throughout the pandemic,” she said.

It's unknown how many people may have tried to cut the line so far to get the shot. NBC10 Boston has reached out to state officials to find out how this issue is being enforced but so far we have not heard back.

A mass-vaccination site in an old Sears at the Natick Mall is now open. The site is one of two new locations opening up in Massachusetts this week.
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