AHS warns Albertans over 75 of scam offering vaccine appointments for money

Albertans over the age of 75 are being targeted by a phone scam offering them COVID-19 vaccine appointments for a fee. Getty Images

Albertans over the age of 75 in the general population are still waiting for their opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19, however some people have been getting calls telling them they can make their appointment — if they pay for it.

In a tweet Wednesday evening, Alberta Health Services said it had received reports of a phone scam targeting elderly Albertans, telling them they can book their shot for a fee.

“AHS will never ask for payment for COVID-19 immunization,” AHS said.

“Please hang up immediately and report to the non-emergency line for local law enforcement.”

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Albertans over the age of 75, as well as people over 65 living on First Nations and Metis settlements, are included in Phase 1B of the vaccine roll-out — but delays in distributing doses to the province have led to a stall on when that will actually happen.

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Issues getting Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses across the country are the result of delays due to a production upgrade at a Pfizer plant in Belgium. Pfizer developed the first widely tested and approved coronavirus vaccine together with German firm BioNTech.

Read more: Alberta seniors looking forward to COVID-19 vaccine, despite few details on rollout plan

The Alberta government has been highly critical of the federal government’s vaccine acquirement efforts, saying it was “failing Canadians” in not securing more doses to immunize more of the population.

On Tuesday, the federal government also warned of possible disruptions in getting more doses of the Moderna vaccine in February — with Canada expecting to only get 78 per cent of its allotted supply in the first week of the month.

Read more: Feds warn of more possible disruptions to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine deliveries in Feb

The week of Feb. 22 is also expected to be impacted, according to a Public Health Agency of Canada document obtained by Global News.

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A spokesperson for Health Canada said it’s still expecting Canada will receive two million Moderna vaccine doses by the end of March.

Canada has secured 40 million doses each from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. But three more vaccines — from AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Novavax — are likely to be approved within the next two or three months.

— With files from Hannah Jackson, Global News, Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, and The Associated Press

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