Be wary about being paid for testing COVID-19 vaccine

Are COVID-19 testing payments too good to be true?
Posted at 9:59 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 11:06:29-05

How would you like to earn money to test out the COVID-19 vaccine?

It sounds great, but is it true?

More than 30,000 Americans now are taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials. And many are earning a few hundred dollars for their efforts.

But one offer to participate is raising a lot of questions.

Nancy Brashear opened her mail to find this:

An offer to earn money if she joined a COVID-19 vaccine test!

"I got a letter from Acurian Health, looking for volunteers for a COVID vaccine study, promising up to $1,200 if you participate or volunteer,” she said.

It looked promising, but that’s when Brashear got suspicious.

She started to wonder how they knew she would be a good candidate for a vaccine trial.

Did someone with a hospital, doctors office or pharmacy actually sell her health information?

"How do they get your information?,” she asked. “That really bothers me."

We called and emailed Acurian Health to find out how they got her name, but did not hear back.

Acurian is a legitimate company, and states it is a data firm that connects people with medical trials.

It does not do the testing.

“Were you concerned they knew your medical history?," we asked.

"Yes,” Brashear said. “Where did they get this information? HIPPA laws make your history private."

A report in Gizmodo -- "How a company you’ve never heard of sends you letters about your medical condition”-- quotes Acurian saying it purchases "public information and lifestyle data" to find candidates.

And Brashear found that if you decide to apply, you will then have to give much more medical information.

“If you go on the website,” she said. “You have to go through steps to do that, so they are looking."

She says thanks, but no thanks.

If you want to sign up for a COVID-19 trial. The National Institutes of Health is a government site that lists all the trials going on.

You may want to visit them, so you don’t waste your money.