A SPORTS Centre holding COVID-19 vaccinations in the town of Los Bermejales, Seville, has had to turn people away after thousands arrived yesterday due to an anonymous WhatsApp hoax.
Scenes at the Sadus de los Bermejales vaccination point mirrored the first day of Black Friday sales as queues formed around the block after messages were sent to thousands informing of open vaccinations.
Throughout the week, residents received messages claiming that vaccinations were available for anyone who turned up at the sports centre between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.
Up to 4,000 people arrived to take the centre up on this ‘offer’ according to Diario de Sevilla, causing extra staff to be brought in as well as police protection.
Before the hoax, the centre, part of the University of Seville, was carrying out vaccinations on approximately 2,000 residents, the majority over the age of 80 as part of the nationwide vaccination program.
The Junta, made aware of the situation, called in support from the Guardia Civil to monitor the situation and ensure that everyone was removed without incident.
However the Andalucian Health Service (SAS) fears that many elderly who did have an appointment would have seen the queue and left, not knowing the situation.
The SAS has denounced the hoax as a great danger to public health and the large interruption that the vast quantity of people caused to the vaccination process.
“Whoever did this wanted to purposefully disrupt the campaign,” explained the SAS.
“We urge anyone who has received this message to ignore it and do not attempt to go to the vaccination centre and we remind people that anyone eligible for a vaccine will receive an individual appointment.”
Because of the disruption, the SAS has enrolled the Policia Nacional to investigate the case and get to the bottom of who is behind the mass messages.
Police are investigating links to the University of Seville as just two weeks ago another hoax was spread regarding a vaccination campaign at the Faculty of Business and Economics warning to not attend the screenings as there was a shortage of doses.
According to news published today by the SAS, the 2,000 original seniors that were supposed to attend the vaccinations have been given their first injections.
The SAS would like to thank the co-operation of the staff at the Bermejales Pavillion for their support and hard work, as well as the local police for their handling of the situation.