Two Women Dressed Up as 'Grannies' to Skip Vaccine Line, Officials Said

Vaccines in Orange County, Fla. are currently limited to frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities and seniors age 65 and older.

Vaccines in Orange County, Fla. are currently limited to frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities and seniors age 65 and older. Shutterstock

 

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The allegedly disguised women were issued trespassing warnings after officials in Orlando found discrepancies between their identification and Covid-19 vaccine registration cards.

Two women who tried to pass as senior citizens to receive Covid-19 vaccinations were turned away and given warnings for trespassing at a vaccination site in Orlando, Florida last week, officials said.

“We realized a couple of young ladies came dressed up as grannies to get vaccines for the second time,” Dr. Raul Pino, director of the health department in Orange County, said at a coronavirus briefing on Feb. 18. “They wore bonnets, they had gloves and glasses, the whole thing.”

The women, identified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as Olga Monroy-Ramirez, 34, and Martha Monroy, 44, had already received initial doses of the vaccine, Pino said. They’d come to the drive-thru vaccination site at the Orange County Convention Center on Feb. 17 for their second doses, but were turned away when officials noticed that the birthdates on their drivers' licenses didn’t match the ones on their vaccine registration cards.

Body-camera footage released by the sheriff’s office shows one woman with brown hair and a Mickey Mouse shirt and the other, in the car's driver’s seat, wearing glasses and what appears to be a thin gray wig. Both women are wearing face masks.

“Do you know what you have done?” a sheriff’s deputy reprimands the women. “You’ve stolen a vaccine from somebody that needs it more than you. And now you’re not going to get your second one, so that’s a whole waste of time … just for your selfishness of stealing a vaccine.”

The deputies issued trespassing warnings to the two women at the request of the health department, according to the sheriff’s office. If either woman returns to the convention center, she could be arrested. There are no other charges pending.

“We don’t have any further information,” the sheriff’s office said in an email. “And we don’t have any information about whether they were wearing disguises or how they were dressed.”

Vaccines in Orange County are currently limited to frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities and state residents aged 65 and older. The state has been vaccinating roughly 2,500 people per day at the convention center, and Pino said there have been other cases of residents attempting to jump the line.

“We saw some squatters asking nurses for vaccines when they’re leaving,” the health department director said. “This is the hottest commodity that is out there right now, so we have to be very careful.”

Pino said the county was working to increase security measures at the convention center “to deter any ill intentions” ahead of an expected uptick in vaccines this week. Officials said they expected to also expand eligibility criteria in the near future, though it was unclear which age or professional groups might be included.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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