Covid booster shot appointment system easy to cheat
The digital registration system for requesting a booster shot contains an option that allows people who are not yet entitled to injection to make an appointment for one. It is, therefore, already possible for people who received their coronavirus vaccine over six months ago to schedule an appointment by simply entering the wrong year of birth, according to research by ANP. "The system is vulnerable," said a spokesperson for GGD GHOR. "We have chosen not to shut down the system unnecessarily. It is a calculated risk that people can abuse it."
The government's online coronavirus systems have been experiencing various problems since the beginning of this year. Mid-November, for example, there were delays in transmitting the contamination figures due to a telecom failure at a supplier. In July, a DDoS attack targeting the coronatest.nl website made it temporarily difficult for people to make an appointment for a test or vaccination. The Dutch system for infections registration also has errors. An incorrect number of infections was published on Wednesday due to a technical malfunction.
Currently, people born in or before 1940 can digitally schedule an appointment for a booster shot, according to the vaccination order set by the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Sports. Anyone can therefore make an appointment by entering the birth year of 1940 or earlier, even if the system has access to the correct year of birth and other personal data via DigiD, which is used to make the appointment.
GGD GHOR Nederland said that an automated check takes place at the end of the day based on the data that has been received. "This automatically checks whether the correct year of birth has been entered based on the BSN number linked to the DigiD account. People who are not yet eligible for a vaccination (based on the year of birth) are automatically filtered out and then canceled," the organization said. The spokesperson cannot say how often this happened. "We are not the police," emphasized the GGD GHOR.
The umbrella organization of regional health services that administer the most booster shots asks "everyone to really wait their turn." "If you push ahead and commit fraud when filling in the data, you will take the place of someone who may need this vaccination even more than you. There is a vaccine available for everyone, but wait for your turn and your invitation," a spokesperson said in a statement.
One person who had their second vaccine over six months ago, but was born in 1968, bypassed the procedure by entering the incorrect birth year of 1938. The person was eventually given several options to have their booster in the coming weekend but did not make an appointment. Another source also vaccinated over six months ago, made an appointment with the false birth year 1937. The person's actual year of birth is 1967.
The appointment screen clearly states that the employees at the vaccination location will check your identification document. The invitation must also be included. "We also carry out a check on location," added the GGD GHOR. "Although that may not always go well."
Reporting by ANP