Forged letters made it possible for anyone to book a Covid vaccine shot : Report
Invitations for Covid-19 vaccinations sent to healthcare workers in the Netherlands were easily replicable, and able to be used by any adult resident of the country, according to an investigative report by broadcaster RTL Nieuws. Their reporting uncovered that several sample versions of the form, a Microsoft Word document, were placed on the websites of some healthcare institutions, and were available for download by the general public.
Healthcare professionals were among the earliest recipients of Covid-19 vaccines in the Netherlands. The 750 healthcare institution in the country were tasked with informing their staff about this, and providing them with the necessary document.
However, anyone who downloaded the form could fill in their own name on the letter, and follow the directions to schedule an appointment with municipal health service GGD for a priority vaccination. The forms contained no unique number or individual QR code.
When they arrived at the GGD vaccination point, fraudulent letter in hand, their status as a healthcare worker was never verified, the broadcaster stated. In fact, the GGD told the broadcaster that it is unable to check if someone is a healthcare worker entitled to a vaccine shot, and it does not carry out random checks on people to see if they work for who they claim. It was only able to check to see if the name on the letter matched the name on the holder’s identification document.
“People who deliberately choose to undermine the vaccination program by pushing ahead and breaking the law do not understand for which big task we face,” a GGD spokesperson told the broadcaster. "We continue to believe in the good of people, and will focus our energies on fighting this pandemic."
A reporter from RTL Nieuws went through the process in March to see if he, as a healthy young adult, could get vaccinated with the priority of a healthcare worker. He made it through the intake into a private booth. Just moments before a vaccine was administered he revealed his identity and refused the shot.
The broadcaster then sat on the story for two months while medically vulnerable people were still largely unvaccinated, to prevent excessive damage from being done by publicizing the scam. During those two months, they repeatedly asked the GGD about the situation, but no changes were made to the system.
“The implementation of tighter controls in this process would be at the expense of the vaccination rate,” the GGD said.
The health organization also published a statement on its website on Monday asking people not to attempt to schedule an appointment until it is their turn. The GGD said it cancels several hundred appointments for a vaccine shot every day. These are people whose birth years have not yet been invited for the vaccine, but who scheduled an appointment anyway.