By Bob Katzen
ATTORNEY GENERAL REMINDS PUBLIC THAT VACCINES ARE FREE AND NO ID IS REQUIRED – As more people become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, Attorney General Maura Healey sent out an advisory last week indicating that while the federal government encourages vaccine providers to ask patients for IDs, Social Security
numbers and health insurance information, these are not required to get vaccinated. She added that the vaccine is also free to everyone.
“Our most vulnerable populations, including immigrants, have been hard hit by COVID-19 infections, yet they often face the greatest barriers to accessing the vaccine,” said Healey. “We are reminding both residents and vaccine providers that people don’t need identification or health insurance to get the vaccine. It’s vital that we work to remove these kinds of obstacles so we can effectively combat this virus and make sure vaccines are accessible to our most at-risk residents.”
Healey’s office notes that denying a vaccine to a patient because of a lack of ID may violate Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws and that deceiving or misleading a consumer into believing that identification or health insurance is legally required, when no such requirement exists, may also be a violation of the state’s consumer protection law.
HEALEY WARNS PEOPLE ABOUT FUNERAL EXPENSES SCAMS – Attorney General Healey, in partnership with the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association (MFDA), also warned residents about potential scams and other attempts to exploit families seeking relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Funeral Reimbursement Program, which began April 12 and offers federal government assistance to help pay for up to $9,000 in funeral costs for anyone whose death after January 20, 2020 is attributed to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, scammers often target people when they’re at their most vulnerable and use it as an opportunity to take advantage of them to make money,” Healey said. “This fund was set up to offer financial relief for those who tragically and unexpectedly lost someone to COVID-19, and we want to make sure applicants are on alert for scams and don’t get exploited.” She noted that FEMA will not initiate contact with anyone by phone or email.
Consumers who receive unsolicited telephone calls, emails or text messages seeking personal information from anyone claiming to be a federal employee, from FEMA or a funeral home should hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362; the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721; or local law enforcement.