“Fake Vaccine Cards Threaten Universities Vaccine Mandates”
The new cards are designed to look like the grade-school vaccination certificate. The fake cards look real enough to trick every public and private sector employee in the country into believing they have fulfilled their duty to immunize their child. The disturbing aspect is that none of the forged cards use a real address or even a real city, making the forgeries easily passed over by parents and doctors. Once kids are infected by fake vaccines they are more than likely to fall for the same trick, making it easier to spread the disease to others.
This is a story of how a fake card used by anti-vaccinationists to make unvaccinated students appear less than trustworthy has been used by universities and colleges to place more requirements on their students.
When concerned students approached Benjamin Meier, a UNC-Chapel Hill professor of global health policy, about their classmates purchasing fraudulent vaccination cards, he became concerned about the efficacy of university policies. The first day of classes will be August 18.
“(Students) revealed to me how readily fraudulent vaccination cards can be purchased,” Meier added. “‘Do you know any students who have submitted them to the university?’ I inquired. They’d all done it.”
According to a UNC-Chapel Hill spokesman, no cases of students submitting fraudulent vaccination cards have been discovered. When asked how the institution differentiates between genuine and fake vaccination cards in pictures, the spokesman remained silent.
However, with thousands of students planning to return to mainly in-person teaching in the coming weeks, university officials may find it difficult to spot fraudulent cards using pictures in online portals.
“We were discussing about giving out phony vaccination cards as a kind of protest to make it obvious to the administration that if they did attempt to mandate vaccines, the students would and can find ways around it,” said Dylan Dean, head of Montana State University’s Young Americans for Liberty. “I decided not to do it since it is illegal.”
More than 400 schools and universities throughout the nation, including Duke University and the universities of Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and California, are requiring students to get vaccinated before returning to campus.
While some colleges demand students to be completely vaccinated when they come on campus, others have just recently published their vaccination policy and will enable students to get inoculation by a certain date.
According to rules at Duke and the University of California system, students philosophically opposed to the vaccine may face disciplinary action or be banned from enrolling if they do not show evidence of immunization and are not exempt.
As the Delta variation continues to increase the number of Covid-19 cases, Eric Feldman, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, is concerned about the unquantifiable danger of false vaccination cards.
“It’s very difficult to estimate how many of them are there,” Feldman added. “It’ll undoubtedly be harmful, and eradicating it won’t be simple. I’m concerned that this will become a widespread occurrence. But we have no idea how many there are or how big of a threat they constitute.”
Phony IDs for buying alcohol have become somewhat accepted among college students, and the notion of fake vaccination cards isn’t far behind, according to Meier.
Young adults have also lagged behind in vaccination rates, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published in June. Almost a quarter of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are still hesitant to get the vaccine, according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in July.
Many students still want to establish a safe atmosphere for their classmates, Feldman said, and university requirements may help alter this tendency.
“What (fake vaccination cards) lead to is people who haven’t been vaccinated and haven’t been tested being in situations where they might be carrying and transmitting the virus,” Feldman said.
UNC student Simon Palmore believes the institution’s prior Covid policies were dangerous, such as when the university went in-person last autumn and had to go back online after a few weeks of fast Covid proliferation.
“It’s easier to view these things through the lens of like, ‘What will I be able to do, will I be able to go to in-person classes, will I be able to go to parties, will I be able to eat in the dining hall?’” Palmore said. “But you really have to remember that, with each little failure the university has with Covid, people are actually getting sick.”
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