Possibility of fake vaccination cards alarms students


Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service

A person shows their vaccination card at a restaurant on Aug. 30. University students are concerned at the possibility that their peers have not gotten vaccinated and used fake vaccination cards to get away with it.

By Gwyn Skiles, Features Editor

Fake vaccination cards are a concern for many students as they move onto campus and start the semester.

Printing fake vaccination cards and attempting to submit them for entry onto campus is a violation of the Student Code and could lead to dismissal from the University and possible legal repercussions. But that’s only if you get caught.

Isabella Strohmeier, freshman in LAS, said she finds the possibility of people submitting fake vaccination cards alarming.

“I’ve heard of people spending a copious amount of money to buy a fake vaccination card when it’s free to get the vaccination,” Strohmeier said. “It makes me feel a bit unsafe that someone would do that and they’re getting away with it.”

On Aug. 26, the University announced in a Massmail that 88% of undergraduate students are vaccinated.

Associate Chancellor Robin Kaler wrote in an email that the University reviews vaccine exemptions on a case-by-case basis — the most common case involving students and staff with conditions where getting the vaccine could compromise their health. However, if an individual is able to get the vaccine, they are required to do so in order to come on campus.

“The University acknowledges that some individuals have health conditions or other reasons why they cannot be vaccinated,” Kaler wrote. “All unvaccinated individuals are required to participate in saliva testing as part of the on-campus COVID-19 testing program.”

Those that can’t participate in saliva testing are required to participate in the nasal swab procedure.

“Students who are required to participate in the on-campus COVID-19 testing program are being monitored daily and will be contacted if they miss a test,” Kaler wrote. “Students face disciplinary action for failure to follow on-campus testing requirements or other COVID-related expectations. While one missed test will not result in immediate dismissal, a pattern of noncompliance may.”

However, the University downsized the amount of testing locations on campus to four and many said the lines are very long. 

Kaler said students who are unable to get the vaccine or participate in any kind of testing should move to a fully online schedule and not come to campus.

To assure the safety of students and staff, McKinley is verifying all submitted vaccine records with the state of Illinois.

“McKinley works with the state of Illinois to check their actual vaccine record created at the time someone is vaccinated,” Kaler wrote. “A fake card would not match the actual records and would not be validated.”

After confirmation, students see a “green, fully vaccinated” status in the Safer Illinois App.

For out-of-state or international students, Kaler said vaccine records are reviewed by trained staff at the McKinley Health Center who look for specific indicators of authenticity in the information provided and appearance of the document.

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