Phishing Alert: Vaccination Misinformation Scam (subjects may vary)

Some U-M community members reported receiving this email. It is fraudulent or malicious. Do not respond, click any link in it, or provide personal information or money. See Phishing & Suspicious Email for more tips. If you need help, contact the ITS Service Center.

Date Sent: 
Thursday, March 25, 2021

Scam Email Summary

This scam contains COVID-19 vaccine misinformation intended to harm vaccination efforts. It pretends to come from a trusted U-M source, and attempts to describe a plausible but fictitious scientific process to sound authoritative.

This scam email is intended to spread false information about the coronavirus vaccine. The assertions made in the email are false in many ways, including the claim that the vaccine was not thoroughly tested, and the suggestion that ongoing vaccination efforts are themselves a "test." We advise you to follow the guidance of the CDC and your local, county, and state officials, as well as your medical provider. Reliable sources of information for folks at U-M include:

This scam email impersonates a U-M staff or faculty member. Their name has been removed from the text of the email below for privacy. 

If you receive similar messages, follow the directions on Report Phishing to report it to Information Assurance.

Scam Email Text

Dear Former and Current Students,

As you all know, the University of Michigan was one of the lead researchers in the vaccine. As the head of the Biology Department in the University of Michigan-Dearborn, I worked with the Ann Arbor campus on the vaccine and I just wanted to let you guys know that I would wait until long term effects set in with those who currently took the vaccine. We have never had a viral vaccine before, and unlike the Flu and other bacterial vaccines, this one does not use dead cells (If you can recall our class, viruses are not bacteria, they are little bundles of genetic material). Typically, when we make a vaccine we go through extensive animal trials. If you remember during my class, I talked a bit about how we make vaccines. 
First during pre clinical:
We test on rats for short term effects and wait a long while and it can take months. Then many labs will test Syrian Hamsters (one of the very common animals) or smaller animals and then primates if there seems to be little side effects. 
Then when testing humans we are extremely careful.

Pre-Clinical -
- Rats - Takes around a month to test short term
- Syrian hamsters (They have similar DNA strands to humans) - Takes another month
- Sometimes dogs if we didn’t test as much on smaller animals
- Monkeys and other primates have been used

Phase 1 - Starting off with 10-20 people; Emphasis on safety and mainly just to induce an immune response. Studies on short term effects and general safety
Phase 2 - Moving on to 100 people; Still studies on short term effects and more knowledge on dosage, how it effects different demographic groups with various health statuses 
Phase 3 - Administered to thousands; overall knowledge of safety for long term effects

And even during human trials, we have those control groups consisting of people who don’t even take the vaccine, but a placebo or another substance. We use these groups to generate proper dosing as to limit any long term side effects that we may not have caught during animal trials. These human trials take an extraordinarily long time as they are used to fully test the vaccine. In other words, it takes years to actually create a fully proven vaccine. The vaccine that we have created now has not went through the same extensive animal trials, and we skipped practically all of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the vaccine. Those scientists and doctors boasting about how we’ve used past research and compiled it to create this vaccine which is an advancement in science in general may be true to the extent that it is an advancement in science, however, we’ve never created a vaccine for a viral infection like COVID-19. As you all know, viruses change and mutate. We do not know the long term effects of this vaccine. I am writing to you all to warn you as I know that they are asking many UofM students to test it out. Even though the technology may have been used extensively in the past and we did use past research, we did not test this vaccine nearly enough, we do not know enough. Please take this as a red flag and unless you are traveling or are in dire need, please do not take this vaccine.

As a scientist, I am also watching to see the long term effects on the current subjects who have taken the vaccine. However, as a teacher I wanted to warn my students. We have more than enough test subjects for this vaccine in both Europe and America. Please wait.

[name removed for privacy]
Biology Program Advisor, Biology Lab Coordinator
Department of Natural Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn