2 Florida women dressed up as grannies to try and get a COVID-19 vaccine, official says

A COVID-19 drive-thru vaccination site at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Two women pretended to be elderly women to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Florida, an official said.
  • They wore bonnets, gloves, and glasses to try to dupe staff at a vaccination centre.
  • But nurses were suspicious and called deputies from the local sheriff’s department.
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Two women in Florida dressed up as seniors in an elaborate attempt to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a local health official said Thursday.

The duo, who appeared to be “in their 20s,” arrived at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando on Wednesday wearing bonnets, gloves, and glasses, Dr. Raul Pino, a health officer with the Florida Department of Health, told a county government meeting.

“Yesterday, we realised a couple of young ladies came dressed up as grannies to get vaccinated for the second time,” Pino said. “I don’t know how they escaped the first time.”

Though the pair presented authentic vaccination cards, medical workers who were about to inoculate the pair noticed they “looked funny” and called them out, Pino said.

Deputies from from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office were called and the women were issued trespass warnings, WWLTV reported.

Florida vaccines
People wait in cars to get second doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Mount Dora, Florida, on January 26, 2021. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The pair used their real names on the vaccination cards, but listed fake birthdays, deputies said.

To be eligible for a vaccine in Florida, people must either be aged 65 and above, have health issues, or be a healthcare worker, staff member, or resident of a care home.

The women were actually aged 34 and 44, deputies said.

Because a growing number of people have been trying their luck at getting a vaccine at the Orange County Convention Centre, security has been heightened, Pino said.

“There have been a few. They’re all different and creative,” he said.

Pino added that nurses finishing their shifts at 10 p.m. have been approached by residents asking if they had any spare vaccine doses, Click Orlando reported.

Questions over whether the two women dressed as elderly citizens really did a first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, and how they did it, remains ongoing, Pino said.

“So part of the findings that we have to do is were they really vaccinated by us, when [they were] vaccinated, what happened, what date, what time to try to figure out if there are any holes, loopholes, in the process that are allowing people to do that,” he said, according to Click Orlando.

Florida was one of the first states to start vaccinating its residents, and saw an influx of visitors from out of state as a result.

As Insider’s Andrea Michelson previously reported, vaccine tourists flocked to Florida in January until the state enforced a public-health advisory requiring people to show a proof of residency before getting a shot.

A pair of New York real-estate magnates, a dozen Argentinian corporate executives, and a popular Mexican TV host have all been vaccinated in the state before the rules changed.

On Thursday, the Florida Divison of Emergency Management said a delivery of Moderna’s vaccine from the federal government had been delayed by the severe weather across the US.