VAX: How would you respond to this vaccination invitation?

Another not-so-great moment in direct marketing…

Fortunately, I don’t have to decide the headlined question since I got my 2nd shot yesterday (with no after effects, thanks). Whew.

Yesterday, I received an email.

Read it carefully … what jumps out at you?

COVID-19 Registration Invitation

From: Vaccination Clinics
Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 2:19 PM

You are invited to register for an appointment at 7002 Arundel Mills Blvd #7777 on Thursday March 18, 2021.

To schedule your appointment using a one-time use link, click Schedule Appointment.

Please do not share this appointment link.

The link is intended for you only, and it can only be used one time. If you share the link before using it to schedule your own appointment, you will lose the ability to use it yourself.

Thank you,

Your Vaccination Provider

Please DO NOT REPLY TO OR SEND email to this address. Your message will not be returned.

Please contact your vaccination provider directly if you have questions.

OK, what’s your take?

Here’s mine…


First, the email’s sender is identified as “Your Vaccination Provider.”

Who might that be?

And, it instructs the recipient to address any questions to “your vaccination provider directly” … but not by replying to the sender’s “no-reply” email address.

Rather than clicking thru to the unidentified link, I googled the address in the email.

Answer: Maryland Live Casino.

Now, that’s not as weird as it may sound … at least to anyone who lives in Maryland and is somewhat informed about vaccination distribution in the state.

You see, the Maryland Live Casino is being used as one of the public health department vaccination sites.

That makes complete sense since the casino has ample parking, available space and security galore.

But, imagine if you didn’t know that.

You get an anonymous email that googles to a casino … and you’re instructed to click a link.

If that doesn’t set off safe computing alarm bells in your head, you should immediately close your browser and never open it again.

All of the critical warning signs for a scam email are there!

That’s too bad, because it is a legit “invitation” via Maryland’s brand new state-central vaccine scheduling system.

Note: Knowing that the new system was launched and that the casino was a vaccination site, I clicked through and got to a clear, simple, identified scheduling page. 

Unfortunately, this auto-generated email is representative of well intentioned but shoddy work that has plagued the vaccine roll-out … causing much consumer confusion.

Reimagine if the email had been:

  • Identified as coming from, say, the Maryland Department of Public Health
  • Explained why you were getting the email: “Since you registered on our site and your priority group is now being scheduled”
  • Said that “the nearest vaccination site with availability was the Maryland Live Casino — a certified Maryland vaccination site”
  • Provided a phone number to verify the email’s authenticity (with a recorded message providing more details)

Do you think that anybody with direct marketing experience read this email before hitting the send button.

I’d bet the under on that one.

My hunch: Odds of people clicking through and scheduling would be much higher if the “marketers” had just finished their job.


P.S. They might have also provided a list-cleaning option … a way that I could be taken off their “interest registry” now that I’ve been vaccinated.

One Response to “VAX: How would you respond to this vaccination invitation?”

  1. Why vax hunters are pulling their hair out… | The Homa Files Says:

    […] See How would you respond to this vaccination invitation? […]

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