Exchanging sensitive personal details for a COVID-19 vaccine: What you need to know

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As an identity theft victim still impacted by the crime today, Jessica Solomon is generally nervous to hand out her personal details.

“My taxes were stolen and they got the refund,” the Hardeeville, South Carolina-based special education teacher revealed.

After a few COVID-19 vaccination appointment mixups in her home state, Solomon learned about the Gulfstream Aerospace mass vaccination site in Savannah.

“I drove out there the next day, I waited a total of only seven minutes to get my shot and it was wonderful,” said Solomon, who shared she’s actually allergic to most vaccines.

“I don’t get the flu shot, I don’t get any vaccinations because it could kill me,” she said.

However, she says her medical conditions could make her especially vulnerable to catching COVID-19.

“I fought to get this [vaccine] because they said if you have certain conditions like I do, such as pernicious anemia,” she said, “it’s pretty fatal usually.”

Solomon says while everyone she interacted with at the Gulfstream site was friendly, some of the questions she was asked surprised her.

“What state was I born in and my mother’s maiden name, that’s private information that no one should get,” she shared.

Solomon says having her identity stolen left her hesitant to share that information.

Identity theft victim Jessica Solomon says she’s concerned about the sensitive details she had to provide during COVID-19 vaccination registrartion.

“I also didn’t get the stimulus checks because there’s a problem with my taxes,” she said.

Solomon is due for her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine next week.

She says in order to book her second appointment online, she was asked to provide the sensitive details again  — but she refused.

 “I don’t want to put that information on my computer,” Solomon said. “Hopefully, nobody ever hacks my computer, but the reality is, I can get hacked.”

Another concern, she reveals, is what could happen to her information if the online registration system was ever compromised.

“‘Sharecare will not be liable for any harm relating to the use of this tool,’” Solomon read from a disclaimer on her laptop’s screen.

“So they are right there, in the second paragraph, telling you if it does get out and your identity is stolen, they’re not responsible,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency tells News 3 that questions like date of birth, what state a person is born in, health condition and a person’s maiden name are requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There are a lot of people that can have the same name, and actually the same date of birth, so by having that mother’s maiden name, it enables them to match your vaccination information with the correct information that they have on file for you,” said Lisa Rodriguez-Presley, external affairs supervisor for GEMA.

Rodriguez-Presley adds that extensive security measures are in place to safely record and transmit personal details while registering for a vaccine appointment online.

“That was one of the things that we really looked at when we were trying to decide how we were going to do the registration process, and working with our vendor, was ensuring that people’s personal information is secure,” Rodriguez-Presley said.

“There are strict protocols in place to make sure that that’s the case,” she said.

For those that may feel uncomfortable providing personal information online in order to register for a vaccine appointment, she recommends providing the information by phone.

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