Amman residents use loopholes to get their jabs

Lying about profession or place of living has worked for some citizens

Senior citizens are vaccinated in different locations recently (Photos: Saher Qadarah)
Senior citizens are vaccinated in different locations recently (Photos: Saher Qadarah)
AMMAN — Amman residents tired of waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment have found a loophole - by changing the information in their registration.اضافة اعلان

Faisal (name has been changed), for example, changed his work sector. “I and my family members placed ourselves as ‘healthcare’ workers while we are not,” he told Jordan News. “We got vaccinated without being asked any form of proof like a union card, an ID was enough.”

Users registering for a vaccine appointment in Jordan via the online platform are asked to specify the governorate in which they live in addition to their job and any health conditions they have. The government has said that they are prioritizing the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, those with chronic diseases, and healthcare workers, a number of whom have died from COVID-19.

Faisal, who suffers from heart disease and immune problems, expressed distrust in the system of vaccine distribution. “The whole system was unjust,” he said. “I saw young adults were taking the vaccine and didn’t have any conditions just because they were nurses, while me and my mother used to go to the hospital because of a flu.” He added that he heard about the idea from a nurse who told him that profession was not checked at vaccination sites.

Twenty-five-year-old Sultan Jaber first heard about the possibility of changing his registration from a friend. He said that he had registered for the vaccine in December in Amman, where he lives, but months later still had not been contacted with an appointment. “I needed to travel soon so I decided to change my spot to Salt city (just 15km from Amman) a week ago and got my turn today,” he said on Monday.

Likewise, twenty-eight-year-old Alia Faris, who lives in Amman, also traveled to Salt to get vaccinated. She documented her journey to get the vaccine on Instagram, where she has over 11,000 followers. “Apparently everyone’s getting vaccinated or getting appointments earlier” after registering in Salt, she said in a celebratory video posted to her story on the app. “I really want to get this over with.”

She added that she got the idea from a friend who changed her registration to Aqaba and received an appointment within three days. “I changed it to Salt because my aunt lives there and I love visiting her. Basically hitting two birds with one stone,” she said in a message to Jordan News.

Jordanians were initially hesitant to sign up for the vaccine, though registrations have increased in recent weeks. Still, only around 10 percent of Jordanians, a little over a million individuals, have registered for the vaccine via the online platform as of Wednesday. In an previous interview with Jordan News, Ahmad Sarahneh, head of the health committee at the lower house, pointed out that verifying individuals’ personal information is challenging. He said that it was the Ministry of Health’s responsibility to regulate administration of the vaccine.

Whereas in Amman residents are experimenting to find vaccines, other governorates are launching campaigns to encourage reluctant residents to register. On Monday, the Governor of Ajloun called for an integrated plan to encourage citizens to get vaccinated. On Sunday, the Governor of Irbid said that all Irbid residents registered on the national vaccine platform would be vaccinated within two days, according to Petra. He also called for the expansion of the vaccine program.

Rashed (name has been changed), who lives in Amman, said that he changed his registration after hearing about a family friend in his 20s who was vaccinated in As-Salt. “Since I heard this rumor a few weeks ago, I changed my registration to try to get vaccinated in Fuheis but I didn’t get an appointment,” said Rashed, who is in his early 20s, “probably because there’s been a massive increase of people who signed up to get vaccinated since then.”

“It is unfortunate that vaccine providers have felt forced to give their doses to people my age since not enough at-risk people have been signing up to get vaccinated,” he said. “But with the recent influx of people signing up, I’m glad the doses are being given to people who need them most.” He added that he believed the vaccination center in Fuheis would be less crowded than that in Amman.

Officials from the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Security and Crisis Management were not available for comment.