Two young women from Orange County, Florida were caught after they attempted to fool health officials by dressing up as "grannies" to get the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, implying that the trick may have worked at least once, according to local media.
“We haven’t had any lack of willing arms to get vaccinated. We also have people faking to be old to be vaccinated. So yesterday we realized a couple of young ladies came dressed up as grannies to get vaccinated for the second time, so I don’t know how they escaped the first time but they came (to get) vaccinated. The bonnets, the gloves, the glasses -- the whole thing and they probably were in their 20s,” said Dr. Paul Rino from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County to local media.
It is still unclear how the women managed to get the first dose of the vaccine, but the two were carrying valid Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards when they showed up in costume for the second dose.
The two were stopped after vaccinators noticed that they "looked funny" and due to issues with their IDs and driver's license, according to local Orlando CBS affiliate News 6.
The Orange County Sheriff's office was called to the scene and issued trespass warnings against the two. One woman was 34-years-old, while the other was 44-years-old.
Healthcare workers and residents 65-years-old and older are currently allowed to register to get vaccinated in Florida.
“So part of the findings that we have to do is were they really vaccinated by us, when (they were) vaccinated, what happened, what date, what time to try to figure out if there are any holes, loopholes, in the process that are allowing people to do that,” explained Pino, adding that the two may have used false information or gotten help from a worker at the vaccination site in order to get the first shot.
“It’s kind of hilarious to a sense, but it’s also a disappointing because they are taking the place that someone else could, in much higher need, could have had that place,” said Pinto, according to News 6, urging residents to be patient with the process and follow government regulations concerning the order of priority for vaccinations.
Security has since been increased at the vaccination site. “We have seen an increase in weird things happening and people walking in suspicious, people monitoring the site. So that’s why we requested additional security that was provided and we installed cameras and other security features in the vaccine room,” said Pino.
Pino added that there have been a few incidents in which people have tried to fool vaccinators and get the vaccination despite not being eligible, and suspects that more people are succeeding than officials realize.
"They’re all different and creative. There was another individual that had the same name of his father, came with a card but different birthday. But, you know, we have access to a lot of information. So we can quickly verify who is who, where they were born, you know, anything that you can imagine, we have access to," said Pino, according to News 6.
As of Thursday, 2,551,882 Florida residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 1,232,083 residents had received both doses, according to the Florida Department of Health.