Florida women dressed as ‘grannies’ fail in vaccination attempt

The women are accused of altering the birth years on their vaccination applications and were turned away.

A Florida Department of Health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine [File: Octavio Jones/Reuters]

Two women who dressed as senior citizens in an attempt to get COVID-19 vaccinations were turned away and issued trespass warnings in Orlando, Florida, officials said.

Dr Raul Pino, the state health officer in Orange County, where Orlando is located, said the women “dressed up as grannies” and disguised themselves on Wednesday with bonnets, gloves and glasses.

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Guido told the Orlando Sentinel that the women, aged 34 and 44, altered their birth years on their vaccination registrations to bypass the state system, which prioritises people age 65 and older. It appeared that the women had gotten the first shot, but it was unclear where.

“Their names matched their registration but not their dates of birth,” Guido told the Sentinel.

Health Department officials asked deputies to issue trespass warnings.

Guido said the warning means they cannot return to the convention centre for any reason including a vaccine, COVID-19 test, convention or show. If they do return, they could face arrest.

Pino said the Health Department’s investigation will try to determine where they were vaccinated earlier and how they managed to get an appointment. He said the department will “try to figure out if there are any holes, any loopholes in the process that are allowing people to do that.”

“This is the hottest commodity that is out there right now, so we have to be very careful,” Pino told reporters.

With limited supplies of the vaccine available, some are taking extreme measures to obtain the shots. Last month, a Canadian couple was charged after travelling to an Indigenous region and falsely posing as local residents in order to receive the vaccine.

“How dare these two privileged multi-millionaires … lie to medical professionals, putting our community at risk, to jump the queue?” White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit asked in a statement shared on social media.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies