COVID-19 vaccine sign up link leaked to ineligible undergraduates

Cullen Fagan and Haley Soares

This morning, Feb. 9, a message spread like wildfire through the Tulane undergraduate population, primarily over text and social media indicating that the COVID-19 vaccine would be accessible to them if they just clicked the link provided. Some students said that they were told or assumed vaccine access guidelines had changed, or that it was a link to an extra dosage sign up to avoid wasting vaccinations.

The vaccine portal was legitimate — it was the same link that the university was supplying to those deemed eligible by Tulane and the state of Louisiana to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vast majority of the undergraduates who shared and received the message, however, were not eligible under state guidelines. When students clicked on the link, it brought them to a sign up that was labeled simply of “faculty, staff, and students” and did not ask those signing up if they were eligible, or require any method of verification. 

Some students became concerned, speaking with their peers and faculty about whether the sign ups were legitimate and whether they were meant to be taking spots. Since there was no option to cancel appointments online, some called the Living Well Clinic and attempted to cancel over the phone. When they did so, they were told that the clinic was unable to do so. When they asked who they should reach out to, clinic workers told them they did not know. Some students emailed [email protected], an email listed as a resource on Tulane’s website, and asked for help, but have yet to receive a response. 

A clinic worker told one student that many of the online sign ups were not showing up in the Living Well Clinics computer system, while other students confirmed they had successfully gotten the first dosage of the vaccine by signing up through the shared link. However, the vaccine clinic has reportedly begun turning away ineligible students who registered for an appointment online. At 3:09 p.m., an email was sent to Tulane students telling them not to sign up for the vaccine if they hadn’t received an email from the university saying they were eligible and if they had signed up, to cancel their appointment. Concerns about students being unable to cancel were not addressed. 

Update Feb. 9 9:03 p.m.: Tulane administrators have confirmed that the Living Well Clinic will cancel all upcoming appointments made with the shared link.

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