Clinic Reportedly Charging Patients $273 to Get Pfizer Vaccine

A medical clinic in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Campsie could face criminal charges for reportedly charging patients as much as $370 AUD (around $273 USD) for both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

As in the United States, federal officials in Australia have declared COVID-19 vaccination and related services free to all. In an email to 9news.com.au's A Current Affair, a health department spokesperson confirmed this policy remains in place. "Clinics cannot charge a patient any cost associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, including booking fees," they said.

But, according to reports, the Blessed Health Care Clinic either didn't receive that memo or has chosen to disregard it entirely.

In English- and Chinese-language signs reportedly posted on the exterior of the building, the clinic stipulates that people seeking the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will have to pay $225 AUD for an accompanying consultation on weekdays and $250 AUD on weekends, according to photos shared by The Australian.

Likewise, people seeking the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will have to pay $80 AUD for an accompanying consultation on weekdays, $100 AUD on Saturdays, and $120 AUD on Sundays. The signs acknowledge that vaccination itself is free.

A Malaysian woman in her 20s who wished to remain anonymous reportedly told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that while she did not think the clinic's prices were fair, she felt that she had no choice but to pay them because she lives in a high-risk area.

"I wanted to get it quickly, to be safer, so I paid the money," she reportedly said in Mandarin Chinese.

Local politician Khal Asfour, the mayor of the city of Cantertbury-Bankstown, told 9news.com.au that he thinks the clinic should be shut down.

A vial containing a Pfizer vaccine dose.
A clinic in Australia is reportedly charging patients hundreds of dollars for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Pictured, a glass vial containing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Zaid AL-OBEIDI / AFP/Getty Images

"I think it's a joke that they're still allowed to operate. And to take advantage of people that don't speak English, to take advantage of people that don't know it's for free, well, they should be put in jail themselves," he said.

Despite the human cost of the pandemic, some thought that it presented a financial opportunity. In March 2020, Tennessee brothers Matt Colvin and Noah Colvin bought 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer from retailers in Tennessee and Kentucky with the intention of selling them at a profit.

In August 2020, the United States Department of Justice charged Milton Ayimadu of Georgia with hoarding and price-gouging for allegedly buying 200,000 face masks from a foreign country for $2.50 each and marking them up on his website, according to The New York Times.

Newsweek reached out to Blessed Health Care Clinic for comment but did not immediately receive a response.