Beaumont cancels 2,700 vaccine appointments after breach allowed 'cut in line'

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
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Beaumont Health fixed a computer glitch that let 2,700 people "cut in line" and sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations over the weekend, officials said.

They also said it has canceled all of those appointments to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

A healthcare workers receives a Pfizer vaccine Jan. 5, 2021, at Beaumont Health in Southfield.

“These appointments violate the ethical distribution framework Beaumont created based upon the State of Michigan’s mandatory vaccine guidelines," Hans Keil, Beaumont Health's senior vice president and chief information officer, said in a statement. "We regret 2,700 people in our community became victims of this unfortunate incident.

"We remain committed to vaccinating as many people as possible who meet the state’s guidelines," he said. "We are also notifying the Michigan Hospital Association and other Michigan health systems about the issue." 

Officials said its patients' medical records were not compromised in the incident.

The health care system's information technology team detected Saturday unusual activity on its electronic medical record system and shut it down, they said.

A user hacked a vulnerability in the system and shared an unauthorized scheduling pathway publicly, according to Beaumont. The move enabled users to schedule an unauthorized appointment that circumvented the current Michigan mandates.

As a result, 2,700 people were able to to “cut in line” and register for an unauthorized vaccine appointment. Officials said those who scheduled an unauthorized appointment will be notified their date has been cancelled via the email.

Furthermore, Beaumont said it has informed the electronic medical record system's creator and operator so it can notify other hospitals and prevent it from happening elsewhere. 

The health care system said it will continue to email invitations to people who meet the state’s criteria to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine and the incident will not interrupt ongoing vaccination operations. Anyone who has scheduled a vaccine appointment through Beaumont’s standard process is unaffected by this issue, officials said.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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