Flyers containing false information about vaccine eligibility posted around med school

Feb. 11, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

Flyers containing false information about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for lab researchers were posted around the Stanford University School of Medicine on Thursday. 

The flyer incorrectly claimed that the Stanford Medicine vaccine rollout had progressed into the Laboratory Category of Phase 1A, meaning that laboratory researchers and staff would be able to receive the new coronavirus vaccine. The flyer read: “You do not need an invitation to be vaccinated!” It was followed by instructions for scheduling an appointment through Stanford Healthcare’s My Health App and for signing up through the Santa Clara County website. It also included a QR code for individuals to scan. 

“We do not yet have information on the source of the flyers, but to the best of our knowledge they have been removed,” said Julie Greicius, Senior Director of External Communications for the Stanford University School of Medicine, in a statement to The Daily. “We remind all staff and students to rely only on official communications from Stanford Medicine for information about vaccinations.”

Linda Heneghan, manager for the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, said that she was first made aware of the flyers by a colleague and that she noticed several “red flags” immediately. 

“Most posted flyers have some indication as to who is promoting the information, and this flyer did not,” she told The Daily. “Another inconsistency is that we are receiving frequent, valid, official and fairly thorough communications regarding vaccine administration, eligibility and availability from the County, the University and the School of Medicine. The ‘information’ on the flyer was inconsistent with any of that.”

In an attempt to learn more, Heneghan scanned the QR code and searched the phone numbers listed on the flyer. After a discussion with her colleague, she decided to notify the rest of her team via email and made sure the flyers were taken down. 

Heneghan said she is not sure how long the flyers were there, or if there were any individuals who may have followed the information given on the flyers.  

Students and researchers are urged not to scan the QR code and take down these flyers immediately. Stanford University lab staff are not currently eligible for vaccines. As of publication, a University IT help ticket has been submitted. 

A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the statement regarding taking down flyers to Julie Greicius. The Daily regrets this error.

Contact Sophia Nesamoney at nsophia ‘at’ stanford.edu and Kristel Tjandra at ktjandra ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Sophia Nesamoney is from Atherton, California. She is a STEM Research Reporter who hopes to pursue careers in medicine and creative writing. Contact her at nsophia ‘at’ stanford.edu.Kristel Tjandra is a biomedical scientist who is passionate about science communication and journalism. Contact her at thegrind 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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