With the introduction of the Government of Alberta’s Restrictions Exemption Program and more employers implementing vaccine mandates for their employees, there has been an increased demand for COVID-19 vaccinations. Unfortunately, there has also been an increase in reports of activity where individuals attempt to acquire fraudulent vaccination records.
ACP has learned of a scheme where individuals provide their Alberta Health Care Card to another individual who, for a fee, will then receive a COVID-19 vaccination at a pharmacy that does not ask for other identifying information in addition to a personal health number (PHN). The COVID-19 vaccine dosage is recorded as being given to the individual with the PHN that appears on the Alberta Health Care Card presented, not the individual who actually received the vaccination. Thus, the owner of the Alberta Health Care Card receives a fraudulent vaccination record.
This scenario stresses the importance of standard 8.1 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians that requires regulated members to verify the identity of individuals receiving schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs including COVID-19 vaccinations. While it’s important to ensure access to these services, there are ways to verify an individual’s identity without being a barrier to care. For example, asking for photo identification (ID) is a good first step to identify patients who are unknown to you. If a patient does not have photo ID, the pharmacist may refer to Netcare and could ask the individual for secondary identifiers such as their birthdate and address. Additionally, as part of their assessment, the pharmacist can confirm what other medications the individual is currently taking.
Verifying the identity of those receiving pharmacy services such as COVID-19 vaccinations helps ensure the creation of accurate patient records, maintains the integrity of the health system, and contributes to public health.