(San Luis Obispo) As the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to devastate the United States, more and more U.S. colleges and universities are demanding proof of vaccination for students in order to attend classes in person.
Posted on Aug 9, 2021 at 11:20 am
Roselyn Romero Associated Press
A home industry has sprung up on the internet to pick up unruly vaccines.
An Instagram account with the user name “vaccinationcards” sells laminated COVID-19 vaccination cards for US $ 25.
A user on the encrypted messaging platform Telegram offers “COVID-19 vaccination certificates” that cost up to $ 200. “It’s our way of saving as many people as possible from the toxic vaccine,” said the seller’s post, which was seen by at least 11,000 people.
A growing number of college and university students are trying to get false vaccination records.
According to a tally by The Chronicle of Higher Education, at least 664 colleges and universities now require proof of vaccination. The verification process for multiple institutions can be as simple as uploading a photo of the vaccination card to the school’s student portal.
Benjamin Mason Meier, professor of global health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says it is difficult for institutions to verify the legitimacy of vaccination records.
“Unlike most other countries that have electronic systems, the United States relies on fragile paper evidence,” he says.
In March, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health issued a joint statement urging people not to buy, produce, or sell fake vaccination records.
In April, a bipartisan coalition of 47 attorneys general sent a letter to the CEOs of Twitter, Shopify and eBay asking them to remove ads and links selling cards like this one.
Several websites have banned keywords related to fake vaccination records, but they can still be found in messaging apps, forums, and the dark web.
Requiring proof of vaccination for attending face-to-face courses at colleges and universities has become a controversial policy issue in some states. Public colleges in at least 13 states, including Ohio, Utah, and Florida, cannot require proof of vaccination because of their laws. However, private institutions in these states are entitled to do so.