When I got my vaccine shot, the folks who administered it hand wrote on my CDC vaccination record. I noticed that they wrote my date of birth wrong on the card, so I got them to replace the card. (First they just wanted to scratch over the incorrect birth date and write in the correct one.) They did not, however, go back to check that the date I gave them matched my drivers license, and they did not go back into any records to make sure it was entered correctly in the state (or health insurance) system.
I suspect there are errors on CDC vaccine cards all over the country. But this woman had an error on her fake vaccination card, and that helped lead to her arrest after using it to avoid quarantine on arrival in Hawaii.
24-year-old Chloe Mrozak from Illinois was arrested after allegedly using this fake #COVID19 vaccine card to enter Hawaii and avoid travel restrictions — it says “Maderna” instead of “Moderna” @KITV4 pic.twitter.com/1EWp3eG3OR
— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) September 1, 2021
Hawaii can’t be credited for noticing the misspelling of Moderna all on their own. It turns out that someone narced her out. And that’s what led to an investigation, where the state learned that the hotel she listed for her stay – Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – had no record of her. She also listed her shots as being administered in Delaware, but when the state checked Delaware said they had no record of her vaccination.
There was more or less nothing they could do until she was ready to leave the state. Quarantine Compliance Check officers apepared at the Southwest Airlines check-in counter for her trip back to the mainland, where she was arrested.
If you’re a drug dealer with narcotics in your car, you want to maintain the vehicle perfectly (no busted tail lights) and drive a mile or two under the speed limit. There’s no sense in getting busted of a traffic infraction. Probable cause aside, you’d think driving perfectly would arouse even greater suspicion (Cf. ‘stop and frisk’).
Similarly if you’re faking a CDC vaccination card, you want to make sure to get all of the little details right. Many legitimate cards probably have mistakes, but why draw more attention to yourself?
U.S. vaccination cards are super easy to fake. You can print one off the internet. You just need to have access to someone’s real card to know what weight paper to procure. Vaccination records exist in various state databases across the country but those don’t really speak to each other. That’s kept any vaccine passport system limited to state-level issuance, and foreign countries accepting vaccinated Americans have been accepting CDC cards (or other records that effectively just acknowledge CDC cards). Health insurers could provide vaccination records based on their payouts, but that’s only helpful for those who submitted insurance.
Ultimately though fake vaccination cards simply mean that a small number of people ‘slip through’ and that only matters where true containment policies remain in effect – countries that still have zero Covid goals, largely in Asia. The problem of fake cards means that most people will still be vaccinated, so the chance of spreading the virus is greatly reduced compared to no vaccination requirement at all. it’s still not zero even with everyone vaccinated anyway.