Advice for anyone attempting to slip into Hawaii using a fake vaccination card: First and foremost, it is against the law. And second, spelling matters.
An Illinois woman was arrested late last month and charged with falsifying vaccination documents. The red flag that tipped off investigators: Moderna was misspelled as “Maderna” on her card, according to court records.
Chloe Mrozak, 24, from Oak Lawn, Illinois, arrived in Honolulu on August 23. She had uploaded her vaccination information to the state’s Safe Travels Program which allowed her to bypass a mandatory 10-day quarantine, Hawaii News Now reported.
Mrozak went about her vacation while investigators began looking into her documents. Not only was Moderna misspelled, the card noted her shots were administered in Delaware by Corporal Wolf and Sargent Montey of the National Guard, who were listed as NRA on her card.
Investigators contacted health officials in Delaware, and they had no records of Mrozak, reports said. They also contacted the hotel she listed as her destination for her visit, and investigators discovered no reservations under her name.
When Mrozak returned to the airport on August 29 for her flight home, she was arrested on a misdemeanor charge. After spending a few nights in jail, she was released under her own recognizance at a September 1 hearing.
Ethics experts told the Chicago Tribune that not only is using a fake vaccination card a crime, it is also an unethical practice.
“The idea of a forged COVID card is a violation of our deepest most foundational ethical principles in a civil society,” Craig Klugman, professor of bioethics at DePaul University, told the Tribune. “Right off the top, it’s … lying.”
Withholding information denies others the right to make informed decisions about their own health and safety, Klugman said.
“Trust is what allows society to function,” he said. “It’s a violation of personal, professional, and civic virtues.”
Other cases in Hawaii
Mrozak’s arrest isn’t the first time Hawaiian officials have charged someone with presenting a false vaccination card in the state.
A Florida couple was arrested on August 13 and charged with presenting fake cards. A tip in that case was the couple allegedly having vaccination cards for their two children as well, but they were born in 2016 and 2017 and ineligible for vaccinations.
Earlier in August, a father and son from California were arrested at the Honolulu airport for allegedly using fake vaccination cards.
In Hawaii, convictions for falsifying a vaccination card carry a fine of up to $5,000 and one year in jail.