The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday urged caution over potential COVID-19 vaccine scams, as several vaccines move closer to being available for Americans.
“While we wait for a timeline and more information, there’s no doubt scammers will be scheming,” the FTC wrote in a blog post.
The FTC then goes on to list several novel coronavirus vaccine-related scams that Americans should avoid. These scams listed, that the FTC urged Americans to avoid, include having to pay money out of pocket when receiving a vaccine, paying early to receive a vaccine and putting your name on a list to be inoculated.
Additionally, the FTC urges Americans to avoid falling for vaccine-related scams such as being asked by a health care provider or vaccine distributor to provide your Social Security number, credit card or bank information, as well as providers offering other products, treatments or medicine to treat and prevent the novel coronavirus.
This illustration picture taken on November 23, 2020 shows a bottle reading “Vaccine Covid-19” and a syringe next to the Pfizer and Biontech logo. Joel Saget/Getty
“If you get a call, text, email—or even someone knocking on your door—claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam. Don’t pay for a promise of vaccine access or share personal information,” the FTC wrote in the blog post, while also noting that Americans who encounter scams like these should report it FTC’s Fraud center.
According to the FTC, Americans can also file a complaint regarding a vaccine scam through a state or territory attorney general by using this link, “consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.”
The warning from the FTC comes as several COVID-19 vaccine candidates await emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after releasing promising results from their human trials.
One of the vaccine candidates, produced by Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech, submitted its emergency use authorization application on November 20, following preliminary findings showing a 90 percent efficacy rate.
The vaccine candidate from Pfizer already received emergency use approval in the U.K. which became the first nation in the western hemisphere to begin a mass vaccination program on Tuesday. The first doses of the vaccine were given to thousands of people across the U.K. across 70 hospitals in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In addition to Pfizer, two other vaccine candidates, produced by U.S. drugmaker Moderna and another produced by AstraZeneca and Britain’s Oxford University, are also awaiting emergency use authorization from the FDA.
Data from Moderna’s human trials showed 94.5 percent effectiveness in combatting the novel virus, while AstraZeneca’s had approximately a 70 percent efficacy rate.
Newsweek reached out to the FTC for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.