'Inappropriately' shared link for vaccine clinic leaves Bay Area seniors disappointed

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Norma Chow had been trying to get her mom, Emma, a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, so she was thrilled when she heard from a friend about a vaccination clinic.

"He forwarded me a text link to be able to book the appointment for the vaccine," she told 7 On Your Side. "So I was able to get both my parents in, and I then knew of several coworkers who had been trying to get their parents in."

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Chow passed the clinic information along to others, including Maya Metrikin.

"Yeah, Norma sent me this link," says Metrikin. "So I went in there and made an appointment for my mom."

Both mothers were set to get a vaccine at Seton Medical Center in Daly City. A couple days later Maya's mom, Serafima, showed up for her appointment. Right away she knew something wasn't right. There were no signs or lines like at the vaccine clinics she had seen on TV. Still, she went in and was told there is no vaccine clinic that day.

"I said, 'What are you talking about, I have a confirmation,'" Serafima told 7 On Your Side. "I show them and they are, 'No, no, no it's fake, we're telling everyone who asked us that it's a fake.'"

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Word spread fast that there is no clinic. Norma's mom also got the bad news.

Norma Chow told 7 On Your Side, "So she felt cheated, like she felt like somebody probably scammed us."

Was it a scam? 7 On Your Side reached out to Seton Medical Center. It turns out there was a vaccine clinic that day, but only for Seton healthcare workers.

Tina Ahn is with Seton Medical Center. "What we believe happened is that the link was inappropriately forwarded to people outside of our circle," Ahn said.

Friends inadvertently passing along bad intel. Now, what about all the information inputted into the system to get those appointments? 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney asked Ahn: "They're concerned that their personal private information is out there somewhere. Is it?"

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"It is not," said Ahn. "The minute that we knew there were individuals in our system who were not part of our circle, their information was automatically deleted."

The takeaway? When signing up for a vaccine, it is best if you double-check the link or make a phone call to verify if the appointment is legit, and be careful with the information you give out.

Here is a survey of the information healthcare providers will need when registering for a vaccination:

Kaiser: "The personal information collected depends on where one is vaccinated and how they made the appointment. When registering for a vaccination at Kaiser Permanente, members share their Medical Record Number."

Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose: "We are using PrepMod - it's an online vaccine clinic management platform that the California Department of Public Health is onboarding to use for COVID-19 mass vaccination efforts. The platform asks for a patient's name, date of birth, residential zip code, occupation, cell number, and whether the person registering for a vaccine lives in a congregate setting (example: group home). This is the personal information needed for vaccine registration."

Sutter Health: "COVID-19 vaccinations are in progress. We're prioritizing patients who are highest-risk according to government guidance. Appointment availability will expand as we receive more vaccine doses and open large-scale and drive-through clinics.... Those looking to sign up for their vaccine appointment, who are not currently Sutter patients, should reference the link at the top of this email. (Link here)... It will ask name, address, DOB."

Stanford: Name (requested + required), address (requested + required), phone number (requested + required), Social Security number (requested + NOT required), race / ethnicity (requested + NOT required), member number or photo of insurance card (requested + required).

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
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