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'That's a scam': You can't pay for early access to COVID-19 vaccine, regulators warn

With a coronavirus vaccine possibly days away, federal regulators are warning about scams aimed at stealing people's money or personal information.

With the first coronavirus vaccine likely days away from being authorized for use in the U.S., the warning is going out about scams aimed at people who might hope to be among the first in line to get it.

The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers that they will not be able to pay to put their name on a list to get the vaccine or to get early access. The FTC also says nobody from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer or insurance company will call people to ask for their bank account, credit card or social security information to get the vaccine.

"If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam. Don’t pay for a promise of vaccine access or share personal information," the FTC said in a statement.

An advisory panel recommended to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week that health care workers and long-term care residents be among the first to receive the vaccine, although states may make their own decisions. Health officials have said average Americans -- namely those who are younger and without underlying conditions -- are not expected to get it until the spring.

Anyone who thinks they are the target of a scam is urged to report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov or file a complaint with their state attorney general through consumerresources.org.

RELATED: VERIFY: Newly vaccinated people won’t spread COVID-19 to the immunocompromised

RELATED: US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data

U.S. regulators Tuesday released their first scientific evaluation of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and confirmed it offers strong protection. The analysis by Food and Drug Administration scientists comes ahead of a Thursday meeting where the agency's independent advisers will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend vaccinating millions of Americans. A final FDA decision and the first shots could follow within just days.

Moderna has reported nearly identical protection in tests of its vaccine, which was developed with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Credit: AP
A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. U.K. health authorities rolled out the first doses of a widely tested and independently reviewed COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, starting a global immunization program that is expected to gain momentum as more serums win approval. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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