ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – From universities to governments, and even the state fair, more places are requiring proof of vaccinations. With fake vaccine cards for sale, how can these places make sure someone’s proof of vaccination is authentic?
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The University of New Mexico is requiring vaccines for students and staff. One student said she’s already heard rumors of people looking for fake vaccination cards and explains what she hears. “‘Oh I wonder if I can get a copy, how real can you make it look?’ I mean essentially like getting a fake ID you know,” said Sydney Gilbert, a UNM student. “I figured it would happen the moment vaccines started to become a requirement.”
But it still is upsetting to her. “I come from an immunocompromised family so I think it’s super important not only for the campus but also for the state,” she said. “It’s such a simple thing to do to keep yourself and other people safe.”
“I feel like it is kind of ridiculous to go on Craigslist and get a fake vaccine card. That’s kind of extra,” said Clara Byron, another UNM student.
But that may be happening. On Craigslist in Albuquerque, fake vaccine cards are being sold for $25. The ad includes text saying ‘Blank vaccine cards/no card=no NM state far this year’ referring to the state’s requirement for guests of the state fair to be vaccinated.
At UNM, students and staff can upload a photo of their vaccination card or their immunization record from the Department of Health website. The university doesn’t send all submissions to the New Mexico Department of Health for verification but does have a process to catch any red flags of falsified documents.
“We have people internally that then review those documents and they’re trained in reviewing them to ensure their authenticity. If there are questions or anything missing on those documents or cards then people are asked either to verify and submit more information,” said Cinnamon Blair, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at UNM. “But overall we’re really hoping that our community is just doing the right thing and we do trust our Lobo community to be honest about their vaccination records.”
New Mexico State University is requiring staff to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. The university couldn’t yet provide details on how it will verify authentication.
“The New Mexico State University system’s vaccine and testing protocol goes into effect Sept. 30. NMSU is finalizing the procedure for submitting proof of vaccination or weekly negative test results from employees and students. Information about how to submit this documentation will be communicated with all of our campuses as soon as details are available,” said Minerva Baumann, Media Relations Officer at NMSU.
The New Mexico State Fair is requiring guests to be vaccinated but it is still unclear how it will verify vaccination status. “We are currently exploring different methods to verify vaccination statuses that are both effective and efficient, to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all our guests. We cannot provide specific details regarding these methods at this time,” said Wyndham Kemsley, Public Information Officer for the New Mexico State Fair.
NMDOH is asking anyone with information about the selling of fake vaccination cards to report it here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.