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Health department in northeastern Utah apologizes for vulgar texts sent to promote vaccines

Contractor goes rogue in messages meant to push the COVID-19 shots.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Empty vials of the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine at the Woods Cross High School pop-up clinic by Nomi Health, April 27, 2021. The health department for Daggett, Duchesne and Uintah counties is apologizing to residents after a contractor sent vulgar texts to dozens of residents in an effort to promote vaccinations.

The health department for Daggett, Duchesne and Uintah counties is apologizing to residents after a contractor sent vulgar texts to dozens of residents — and it has fired the company that employed the texter.

The TriCounty Health Department and the Utah Department of Health hired a private texting service, Public Results, to contact residents and encourage them to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide information about where and how to do so.

But, according to a Facebook post, one employee of Public Results went rogue and deviated from the scripted messages “to respond to text messages with inappropriate, offensive, and vulgar language.”

At least 52 people received the vulgar responses, according to the TriCounty Health Department. When it became aware of the texts, the campaign was “immediately canceled” and Public Results was fired.

According to the department, the company was vetted before it was hired and “other agencies ... had successfully used their services both in Utah and across the country.”

In addition to a public apology, Public Records sent apologies via text to the residents who received vulgar messages. The TriCounty Health Department posted that “as important as the vaccines are to the health of our community, we will find other ways to continue to educate the public as to the importance of receiving the vaccine.”

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