Since the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine in late 2020, the United States’ rollout has been slower than expected, causing desperate Americans to go to great lengths to get inoculated. Some have even tried to trick those workers who are giving the COVID vaccine.
In Florida, two women in their 30s and 40s allegedly attempted to get vaccinated by dressing as “grannies”—complete with bonnets, gloves, and glasses—according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando.
“So yesterday, we realized a couple of young ladies came dressed up as grannies to get vaccinated for the second time,” Dr. Raul Pino, the Florida Department of Health director in Orange County, said during a press briefing on Feb. 18. “So I don’t know how they escaped the first time.”
This time, health officials on site noticed a discrepancy between their driver’s license and the vaccine card they presented, showing they had received the first vaccine. The police issued the women trespass warnings, and they did not get the second vaccine.
The fact that the two women had succeeded in skipping the line for their first COVID vaccine calls into question how often other people can trick a healthcare worker and get away with it. Pino said he guesses the number of people misrepresenting themselves to receive the vaccine is probably “higher than we suspect.”
In Florida, anyone over the age of 65 can request a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend states prioritize inoculating healthcare workers and people living in assisted living facilities first. Florida is one of the first states to offer it to all seniors.
The situation shows the lengths Americans will go to get vaccinated. Operation Warp Speed initially promised to distribute 300 million doses by the end of 2020, but only 35-40 million doses have made it into the arms of Americans, according to the Washington Post.
In late January, President Joe Biden pledged to ramp up vaccine distribution by 16% in February and said he hoped to have most Americans vaccinated by the end of the summer.