Americans are desperate to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with some waiting in line for hours in hopes of getting their shots. But would you pay someone $10,000 just to get an appointment for a shot? That’s how much Inside Edition’s investigative unit found one ad on Craigslist was asking for to get a vaccine appointment
“COVID-19 vaccine appointment for two people in Florida,” the ad said. “Must be over 65 and no proof of residence needed.”
The price for both was $20,000.
Inside Edition tracked down the man behind the ad, Richard Lawrence. He required us to make a $1,000 deposit to a children’s charity, then told us to bring a cashier’s check for the remaining balance made out to either him or the charity. Then he instructed us to meet him in a parking lot behind McDonald’s outside Jacksonville, Florida. It was 10 minutes away from the health department facility where Lawrence said he set up the appointments.
Inside Edition sent our former chief investigative correspondent Matt Meagher and his wife Patty to pose as buyers. Lawrence was pacing in the parking lot waiting for them to arrive.
“I’m really with Inside Edition, and we’re doing a story on people who sell the vaccine appointments. And we just want to ask you a couple of questions about how this works, because you realize how odd this looks, don't you?” Matt asked Lawrence.
“Oh yeah,” Lawrence said.
“All you're doing is helping someone who’s got a lot of money get to the front of the line,” Matt said.
Lawrence responded, “What I was doing was certainly working with people that were greedy that wanted to get to the front of the line and had money.”
The Meaghers say they are incensed. They’ve already had their shots, which took them weeks to book.
“I just think it's outrageous. It took us more than a month trying to get an appointment,” Patty said.
The charity told Inside Edition they didn’t know anything about the Craigslist ad. When they found out what happened, they refunded our donation.