Facebook users' disturbing ploy to 'waste' thousands of vaccines

·3-min read

A disturbing post has been circulating on Facebook which encourages anti-vaxxers to book Covid-19 vaccination appointments and not show up in a bid to ‘waste’ supply.

The Facebook user has screenshot a Geelong Advertiser article about hundreds of vaccine no-shows in Victoria and written “How to play their game” over the image.

Comments on the post, which is captioned “do it!”, include “great idea”, “just made a booking” and “maybe we should flood their phones with fake bookings and fake names and phone numbers.”

A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient. Source: Getty Images
The Department of Health said it's disappointing to hear that people are actively taking steps to jeopardise the vaccine rollout. Source: Getty Images

The controversial call-to-action has since been shared across multiple groups by other Facebook users urging others to report the content.

“They are booking vaccinations only to not show up! This is terrible and needs to be reported. The most disgusting behaviour that the cult has come up with in this pandemic,” posted one person.

“This is unbelievable. They bang on about freedom of choice but then don’t respect people’s right to choose to vaccinate,” commented another.

“This is getting out of hand”, “this makes me so mad” and “that’s rank behaviour” were among the flood of angry comments that followed.

A screenshot of a post is circulating on Facebook encouraging others to swamp vaccine booking systems with fake appointments. Source: Facebook
A post is circulating on Facebook encouraging others to swamp vaccine booking systems with fake appointments. Source: Facebook

Health authorities disappointed over ploy to ‘waste’ vaccines

In a statement to Yahoo News, the Department of Health said the Australian Government does not endorse this behaviour.

“It is disappointing to hear that people are actively taking steps to jeopardise the operation of these businesses and placing greater strain on the vaccination roll-out, impacting the safety of their family, friends and local communities.

“It is important for Australians to have access to credible and timely information about COVID-19 vaccines.

“We encourage everyone to follow health advice and get their vaccination as soon as possible if they are eligible.

A screenshot of a Facebook post urging others to report the controversial content. Source: Facebook
A number of Facebook users have since shared the controversial call-to-action urging others to report the content. Source: Facebook

Vaccine hesitancy wasting millions of AstraZeneca doses

The impact of fake appointments on the vaccine rollout is minimal compared to AstraZeneca hesitancy.

Any spike in cancellations is unlikely to mean the vaccines will go to waste, as they are drawn out of the vials when people arrive.

Many vaccination centres and GP clinics are also now accepting walk-in appointments, which means unused doses previously reserved for no-shows can be given to those people.

But it’s been revealed more than two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are sitting in fridges unused at GP surgeries across the country.

A recent vaccine rollout update shows that one in five of the doses allocated to GPs so far is yet to be administered, with 2,315,343 of the available doses unused.

The vaccine has a maximum shelf life of six months if stored correctly.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today boosting the AstraZeneca vaccine is very important.

"It's the most recognised COVID-19 vaccine in the world and it saved millions of lives. And it can do the same here in NSW and across the country," he told the Today Show.

"So lifting those AstraZeneca vaccine rates in NSW will be incredibly helpful."

NSW Shadow Minister for Health, Ryan Park, said a comprehensive public awareness campaign is urgently needed to ensure unused doses of AstraZeneca don’t expire.

“Lives and livelihoods depend on clear and consistent messaging,” he said.

“We believe that with greater awareness and education we will see more people willing to roll up their sleeve to get the jab.”

Mr Park said the campaign must be multilingual to reach multi-cultural communities in Sydney’s southwest, where the virus is running rampant.

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