ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Two women who pretended to be senior citizens so they could receive the COVID-19 vaccine were actually able to get the shots the first time around, even if they weren’t as lucky the second time.
Dr. Raul Pino, from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, provided details of the bizarre incident on Thursday, saying the duo was busted when they showed up at the Orange County Convention Center to get their second shot to complete the series and were turned away when vaccinators noticed they “looked funny” and saw the birthdates on their vaccination cards didn’t match the dates on their driver’s licenses.
“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,” Pino said.
Pino said at the time that an investigation would need to be launched to determine if the women actually received the first doses and where those shots were performed.
Kent Donahue, the public information officer for the Orange County health department, confirmed Monday that both women received their first doses at the convention center but he couldn’t provide information on how they managed to cheat the system and why they weren’t discovered the first time.
The convention center site is only open to those 65 and older and health care workers but records show one woman was 34 and the other was 44 years old.
When the two showed up on Feb. 17 for their second doses, they were issued a trespass warning instead and told they can’t return to the convention center.
Body camera video provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office shows deputies scolding the two women, who did not appear to be wearing disguises as Pino described.
“You know what you have done? You’ve stolen a vaccine from someone that needs it more than you and now you’re not going to get your second one,” a deputy told the pair. “So that’s a whole waste of time we just wasted here on this. So, we’re at that point right here but just for your selfishness of stealing a vaccine.”
Deputies also told the women they should be glad they weren’t arrested.
Donahue said it was the convention center’s decision to trespass the women instead of pressing charges but when the time comes and they’re actually eligible, they should be able to return to the site to get their second dose.
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