Getting a Coronavirus Vaccine? Don't Post the Paperwork on Social Media

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Feb. 6, 2021

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Medical personnel preparing an injection.

Image source: Getty Images

Encouraging your friends to get vaccinated is one thing, but don't compromise your personal details in the process.

Though the coronavirus vaccine rollout has been somewhat slow thus far, as the weeks go by, more and more people will be able to line up and get their shots. In fact, you may have already seen photos on your friends' social media accounts proudly displaying proof of their initial vaccines. And while those people may have posted those pictures to encourage others to go out and get jabbed, they may have also inadvertently made a huge mistake.

The danger of posting your vaccine pics

Those cards you see people getting when they receive a coronavirus vaccine? They generally contain several points of personal information that, in the wrong hands, could lead to identity theft.

At the very least, your vaccine card will probably contain your full name and date of birth. It may also contain your address. While that information alone may not be enough for a scammer to open a new credit card in your name, you never know what other details a criminal could scrounge up. As such, the Better Business Bureau is now warning consumers not to post their vaccine photos online. Or, if you're going to post yours, make it a picture of just you -- don't include the card you get with the aforementioned details.

Be wary of scams

Of course, giving away personal information isn't the only risk you might encounter with regard to coronavirus vaccines. You'll also need to be careful not to fall victim to a vaccine scam.

There are already reports of people getting phone calls or text messages out of the blue offering them a chance to sign up for priority access to a vaccine -- that is, if they're willing to pay. Of course, what then happens is some victims go ahead and wire money to a so-called vaccine source, only to never hear from that person again.

One thing you should know about the coronavirus vaccine is that it's free to the public and that you'll need to wait your turn to get it. Each state has its own system for making that happen, but for the most part, you won't be in the first round unless you happen to be:

  • Elderly
  • Immunocompromised
  • Diagnosed with a specific condition like high blood pressure or diabetes
  • An essential worker
  • A healthcare worker
  • A first responder
  • A teacher

As time goes on, certain new sub-groups may emerge with priority access to the vaccine. Your best bet is to keep tabs on what your state is doing and follow instructions to sign up through whatever portal it makes available. Keep in mind that you should not have to supply any banking or credit card information to register for a vaccine appointment.

Don't overshare

In an age when so many people like to share their every move on social media, your coronavirus vaccine is something you should talk about with caution. Not only is it a sensitive topic -- not everyone can get the vaccine just yet -- but showing your vaccine certificate could put you at risk of financial fraud. You may want to consider sharing that news with your inner circle only -- and perhaps via a group text without any picture at all.

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