The delta variant is running wild across the United States, causing a surge in COVID-19 cases. In response to the most transmissible variant of the coronavirus, over 650 colleges and universities are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for in-person class attendance. For people who don’t want to get the vaccine, fake vaccine cards may allow them to cheat the system. According to several reports from law enforcement, education, and student officials, this is a very real possibility.
Unlike other countries that have adopted an electronic system for vaccination records, the United States uses paper cards to prove vaccination status. To cheat the system, a cottage industry on the internet is willing to accommodate those who don’t want the vaccine and want to attend in-person classes. Similar to fake IDs for people under the age of 21, fake vaccine cards are available for purchase.
Fake Vaccine Cards Are Real
One Instagram account sells laminated COVID-19 vaccination cards for $25 each. One user on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, offered COVID-19 vaccine certificates for $200 each. The goal behind both of these accounts was to help people avoid the “poisonous vaccine.” This sparked the interest of thousands of anti-vaxers. In fact, one Twitter user posted about her daughter buying fake ID’s online during her college years. And she asked if anyone had links for fake vaccine cards.
Naturally, colleges that require proof of vaccination are worried about fraudulent vaccine cards. The purpose of requiring vaccination is to keep students and faculty as safe as possible. For that reason, universities must have policies in place to make sure that every student possess a valid COVID-19 vaccine document. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for instance, conducts periodic verification of documents. This is in hopes to weed out people who have falsified documents. As of this time, UNC-Chapel Hill hasn’t found a single student with a fake vaccine card.
What Do Universities Say?
Staff members from universities and colleges express concern over forged vaccine cards. A reliable digital vaccine passport mobile application is what educators would like to see. Not only will this help university staff, but it may also help other businesses that require proof of vaccination. Some universities, like Vanderbilt University, have put a student’s ability to register for fall 2021 courses on hold until vaccine records have been verified. It makes an exception for those who have approved medical accommodation or religious exemption.
Why The Need For Vaccination?
A college or university campus is a melting pot of people from all around the world. There are thousands of people on each campus and they engage in various social settings and environments. Not to mention, dorm life forces strangers to live in close quarters. Health experts argue that between dorms, classes, and cafeterias, you have a breeding ground for COVID-19. Ensuring that all students are vaccinated would establish herd immunity to keep everyone safe.
There will always be people who want to cheat the system. Anything that requires a certification poses the risk of falsifying a document. Many university officials feel that if students have false vaccine cards, the percentage will be very low. This has already sparked outrage and protests across the country and only time will tell how this vaccine requirement ends. As for now, students who want to attend in-person classes at one of the many universities participating in this effort must get the vaccine, or provide valid reasoning/proof that makes them exempt.