Coronavirus

Boston Medical Center cancels vaccine appointments for those who signed up through leaked link

The scheduling system was intended for volunteers screening patients in local communities, not the general public.

Pharmacist Andrea Glennon prepares doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine at the Tufts Medical Center on March 4, 2021. Craig F. Walker / Boston Globe, File

Boston Medical Center has canceled COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people who signed up through a scheduling system not intended for the public.

The system was a pilot for BMC volunteers to schedule appointments for patients in Boston communities that are disproportionately affected by the virus, a spokesperson told Boston.com in a statement.

The link to the system was “inappropriately shared on social media,” the spokesperson said. It was leaked in a post on a subreddit dedicated to coronavirus news in Massachusetts at the end of last month. The link’s URL, which mentioned “community COVID vaccine scheduling,” now redirects to a page showing vaccination locations.

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“This was the link for priority partners like non-profits and community health centers to book appointments for patients and was not intended to be distributed,” a Reddit user wrote on the post.

“Bottom line is the link posted here was for nonprofits and community groups who are trying to book high risk people, not a bunch of random [Redditors] that don’t want to wait their turn,” another user wrote.

“I know, [because I] work with a nonprofit that is affiliated with [BMC],” the user wrote. “This link is not for the public and was shut down [because] of this Reddit post. [BMC] has been booking online for weeks, with affiliate nonprofits, not with the general public.”

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Several Reddit and Twitter users shared texts from BMC Sunday stating that their appointments were booked on “an unsupported link” and were canceled.

The BMC spokesperson said that falsely scheduled appointments set for Saturday were still honored. It’s not clear how many appointments were canceled and how many were still honored.

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