With Australia now embarked on the Covid vaccine programme, anyone thinking of jumping the queue to get the jab should beware of fakes and scams.

The vaccine rollout is prioritised for specific target groups and most people over 18 will have the opportunity to be vaccinated before the end of October.

People need to be patient and not be tempted to queue jump with any so-called vaccine deals offered online.

Even when Covid-19 vaccines were being developed there were so-called phase 3 vaccines being offered online to the desperate. Now vaccines are developed and the scale of the effect of Covid-19 is being realised. Some people are desperate to jump the queue for vaccines and there are  reports from abroad of scammers selling bogus Covid vaccines which are nothing more than saline solutions.

Scammers will try and prey on people by offering cheap vaccines, that are not even vaccines, or offering people the chance to "jump" the vaccination queue or even opt for a specific vaccine.

There is nothing stopping private sales of vaccines and legitimate vaccines can be offered to those who prefer one vaccine over others. However, where these vaccines are not offered through legitimate sources, a buyer can never know what they are buying and whether it is a vaccine at all.

Some people may try to cherry pick the vaccine they prefer. So the scammer’s approach is to say 

'if you prefer to get the Pfizer vaccine rather than the AstraZeneca vaccine, then pay us $150 and you can jump the queue'.,

Don’t fall for this, it’s likely a scam.

There are now warnings circulating that thousands of fraudsters will be trying to exploit the COVID-19 vaccine program, with scams that will look legitimate and the people behind them may even quote your name, phone number and email.

Scammers have information they will use to convince you they are legitimate. And where health in involved, you want to believe them, so your internal dialog will convince you the scam is not a scam. Scammers are professionals and they know what to say to make the “sale”.

There are reports thousands of people were targeted with scams during the vaccine rollout overseas and experts believe those same scams will also happen in Australia.

EAGLEGATE Lawyers' advice is- treat any vaccine offer text, call and email with great caution.

It isn’t just buying a dodgy vaccine that is of concern. Media have reported the UK saw a rise in vaccine scams after commencing its emergency program. Cybercriminals created fake vaccine registration pages to capture personal information.

One such scam reportedly involved a fake text message purporting to be from the UK's National Health Service (NHS). The message had a click through to a NHS-themed website which asked for personal details the hackers could then sell on the dark web.

Australians should be suspicious of any vaccine-themed emails or text messages, especially those containing attachments or instructing people to click on a link.

Scammers are using Covid to prey on victims, to extract information or sell bogus vaccines.

Cyber security fraud experts say a significant number of vaccine-related domains or website addresses have been set up in recent weeks and these are regarded as a precursor to phishing scams related to the Australian rollout of vaccines.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has confirmed it already has received 16 reports of vaccine-related scams.

Significantly the Covid vaccine will be free to everyone but the rollout is prioritised with border, hotel quarantine and health workers who may come into contact with potentially infected people being first in line.

The Federal Government also wants vaccines to go to aged care and disability services workers and the highly vulnerable, then people aged 70 plus. The general population is further down in the vaccination program. And it’s this age group that’s most prone to the ripoffs.

Medicine is one of the biggest items in the world that are subject to ripoffs. Bootleg or counterfeit medicines are big business particularly where the person cannot initially tell if the product is legitimate or not.

Australians need to have some trust in the government health process and not rush the system.

Let them do their checks on the vaccines to ensure they are safe and effective. Let the rollout proceed in an orderly fashion.

The vaccine will be free to everyone so don’t buy this stuff online thinking you can jump the vaccine queue. 

Be patient and wait your turn. Your life could depend on it.

Link to Queensland Health web page on Covid-19 vaccines:

COVID-19 vaccines: everything you need to know | Queensland Health