It’s clear that the state is largely incapable of policing fake vaccination cards being used for Hawaii travel. And officials have said as much. A big deal gets made of those found using fake cards, and those found have clearly been flagrant, but the reality is, those caught are likely a drop in the bucket.
It makes us wonder why anyone would use this way of entering the state. It is dangerous since it puts the health of people living in Hawaii and those visiting here at risk. Also, anyone presenting a fake vaccination document is subject to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. It’s not worth it – just get vaccinated or take the pre-travel COVID test to avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine.
Recently, seven individuals have been arrested in Hawaii for allegedly using fake vaccination cards.
In the most recent case, which made national news, a 24-year old woman who arrived in Honolulu on a Southwest Airlines flight couldn’t even bother to spell the name of the vaccine correctly (note Maderna instead of Moderna in the image above). In addition, she took the subterfuge even further by providing fake accommodation details. The charade came to an end as she was trying to leave the state and was arrested at the Southwest ticket counter at Honolulu Airport. She was in custody on $2,000 bail until being released at a hearing yesterday. Another virtual hearing is set in three weeks.
Also this week, a Georgia couple was taken into custody at a Waikiki hotel following vaccine card irregularities noted by officials. In August, a father and son from Los Angeles were arrested for trying to use fake vaccination cards in Hawaii. And also in August, a couple from Florida was arrested for falsifying vaccine cards. The tip-off? The couple presented vaccination cards for children ages 4 and 5, who are obviously far too you to have been vaccinated.
“The screener at the airport, when they came through, noticed an anomaly about the age of the children and the vaccine, and that’s how we got involved.” — Hawaii Attorney General’s office.
The Attorney General was also quoted as saying that “fraud is easy with this type of document, so we then have put into place measures to ensure we can verify it and prosecute them when they are fraudulently altered.”
We must assume that in nearly all less obvious cases, however, the perpetrators are not found.
Could three Hawaii Covid vaccination apps that verify results be the answer?
The three Hawaii-approved, but thus far not mandated apps for testing and vaccination provide verification. Is it possible the state could turn to them to have better validity control using multiple databases, compared with vaccination cards? We have never heard to what degree Hawaii is able to actually cross-check vaccination card information uploaded to Hawaii Safe Travels.
Vaccine cards are clearly an easy mark for forgery. They are just a piece of paper with basic information on them. Followed by which batch of vaccine you received and where.
BOH: For now, registering and complying with the requirements of the state’s Safe Travels program remains the sole requirement for all Hawaii-bound travelers. It is needed to create your trip, link and to obtain approval of these vaccination/testing passport exemptions, and lastly complete the required health questionnaire within 24 hours of travel.
1. CommonPass ‘SMART Health Card’ uses a digital vaccine record to verify vaccination in order to waive testing requirements. Using CommonPass, results are instantly verified.
2. CLEAR Health Pass conducts digital vaccine verification or 2) negative test results to be uploaded. Users find their vaccine provider from the Clear list and link the results by logging into the patient portal via the CLEAR app. They also support the upload of a photo of the CDC Vaccine Card, although we don’t know how those are verified.
3. AZOVA requires that travelers get vaccinated through AZOVA’s vaccine network or obtain a digital vaccine record confirmed by them in order to obtain the Simple Health Pass.
How significant a problem do you think this is and what do you think the state should do about it?