The Edmonton Police Service has confirmed it has opened an investigation into reports that vulnerable Edmontonians were being paid to get the COVID-19 vaccine so that unvaccinated people could have a QR code.
An emergency room nurse in Edmonton told Global News they have had at least six patients come in who have said they were paid to get multiple vaccinations.
Global News has agreed not to identify the nurse who fears they could lose their job for speaking out.
The nurse said they had one patient who received seven COVID-19 vaccinations in just one day.
“Anger, disappointment. Shock initially, the first time,” the nurse described how they felt hearing about the payments from a patient.
The belief is that those who are paying are doing so to receive proof of vaccination which will allow them to travel, eat in restaurants and more.
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“It really feels like they have deemed the vaccine unsafe but they’re willing to victimize these people because they’re worth less to them,” the nurse said.
That frontline worker was told by a patient that those buying vaccine proof are paying $2,000 to a third party and that the vulnerable people getting the vaccine are being paid $100 of that.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton Police Service said Alberta Health Services contacted them in regards to a complaint. Officers then launched an investigation which is still in the preliminary stages.
The nurse pointed out this would also affect people who are favouring facilities that require vaccination proof.
“If you go out in the community expecting to be around vaccinated people, you may not be. So you are also at risk.”
Emergency room staff only ask about vaccination status from those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Because of that, this nurse believes there could be far more people who have been paid to get vaccinated multiple times and who have come in to hospital but have not exhibited symptoms.
The nurse said they are glad police are investigating but would like to see the people paying for fake proof to be held accountable.
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They said they would also like to see other changes.
“A start would be every other province requires a photo on your health care card. So while that wouldn’t fix everything, that might help some of it.”
In a statement, Alberta Health Services confirmed it was aware of the situation.
“Recently AHS staff have heard stories from the public about situations where individuals are being offered money to receive a COVID-19 vaccination using a false identity,” said a spokesperson.
The statement went on to discourage the practice.
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“While COVID vaccines are safe and serious adverse reactions are rare, it is not advisable to have more doses than recommended. In particular if doses are given too close together it increases the risk of having a reaction.”
Because the situation is being investigated by police, the spokesperson said they could not comment further.
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