Experts say COVID-19 vaccine eligibility fraud is highly uncommon

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As Kern County rolls out coronavirus vaccines, providers have given out over 130,000 shots. Health experts say vaccines will help the county reopen more quickly, and more safely. But not everyone is eligible yet, and some may falsify information to slip through the cracks. Kern is vaccinating residents in phases 1-a and 1-b, allowing tens of thousands to sign up for their vaccines. Meanwhile, many wonder what happens to people who try to get their shots ahead of schedule.

There’s nothing we can do in a disciplinary fashion,” said Tim Calahan, Director of Public Relations for Clinica Sierra Vista. “Identification is checked to receive a vaccination, that’s the best we can do in this process.”

The state has not released any guidelines around vaccine fraud, meanwhile experts say line-jumpers are extremely uncommon.

“I can’t say we’ve seen widespread attempts of fraud,” said Calahan. “The thing we’ve seen the most is people thinking it’s their turn, when it isn’t.”

Some healthcare providers wonder how strict vetting processes need to be.

“We’re balancing trying to get the vaccine out as quickly and safely as we possibly can with as few barriers as possible, but also doing it in an equitable and fair fashion,” said Kiyoshi Tomono, Community Partnership Executive for Adventist Health Bakersfield. “We’ve been working directly with employers and school districts, and we’re having them put the list together for us.”

The Biden Administration says vaccines should be available for every adult American by the end of May, so experts say the fraud issue won’t stick around for long.

“We’re trying to get the vaccine to the people who are probably needing it the most,” said Tomono. “30 to 40 percent of 65-year-olds and older have been vaccinated so far with the first dose, which means we have a long way to go with that senior population.”

If you’re wondering when you can get your vaccine. visit MyTurn.ca.gov for more information.

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