Healthcare workers brag on TikTok about counterfeiting Vax cards


BBefore deleting his page on Tuesday, TikTok user hann.brooke95 had had no qualms about sharing even the most mundane details of his life with his 19,400 followers.

She posted TikToks of herself cooking while breastfeeding, the can of beans she was using for nachos, and even the meticulous process of transferring her license as a pharmaceutical technician from Florida to Illinois, from completing the application to affixing a return label and stamp. in the envelope, until you drop it in the mailbox in front of your house.

And the stream of everyday minutiae might have continued if she hadn’t used TikTok to brag about stealing her work COVID-19 vaccination cards so she and her husband could pose as vaccinated.

“I work at a pharmacy and bought blank ones for myself and my husband,” she wrote in another user’s TikTok comments about the fake vaccination cards.

It didn’t take long for users Becca Walker and Savannah Sparks to zoom in on the return address label and compare the name and address to the public records of 25-year-old Hannah Brooke Hutchinson, who is registered as a pharmaceutical technician at Illinois. Sparks then reported her to the same Illinois Board of Pharmacy that had just licensed her. The Illinois Board of Pharmacy told The Daily Beast that it does not comment on the investigations.

“I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to steal from your work. And I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to steal blank vaccination papers for COVID-19 to falsify information and claim that you and your husband were vaccinated when in fact you weren’t, “Walker said on a TikTok she posted to call her. . outside.

Hutchinson did not respond to multiple phone calls and text messages sent to numbers associated with her and her boyfriend. But after Walker and Sparks posted TikToks about her, Hutchinson deleted her TikTok and deleted her Instagram and Facebook accounts. The Daily Beast, however, was able to review the enlarged image and independently confirm Hutchinson’s details, including his pharmacy technician license, through public records.

Just before cleaning up his TikTok, he posted, “Stop hating me! I don’t care what you guys think. I did my best for my husband and myself. ”Hours later, she posted another TikTok claiming to be a 16-year-old girl in the UK who was doing an experiment for her father, who is a filmmaker. But the TikToks, which go back A year later, they tracked down to her husband’s Facebook page, which was also removed, where she appeared to be a mother in her 20s.

“Very sick people go to pharmacies, so when a pharmacy employee lies about being vaccinated, everyone is at risk,” Sparks, herself a pharmacist in Biloxi, Mississippi, told The Daily Beast. “I don’t want them in the profession.”

But Hutchinson is far from the only healthcare professional seemingly trying to make her way into the vaccinated world, a trend that could have huge implications for the vulnerable Americans these employees serve.

Since Monday, Walker and Sparks, combined, have posted more than half a dozen TikTok videos calling out healthcare workers who have spoken online about falsifying or attempting to falsify vaccine cards. And they say that other users have sent them dozens of other tips that they have not been able to verify.

I’m sitting here, bewildered, thinking about the implications of all this.

Dr. William Schaffner

“It’s overwhelming,” Sparks said. And, public health experts warn, it’s incredibly dangerous.

“I’m sitting here, bewildered, thinking about the implications of all this,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “Anyone who works in the healthcare environment obviously contributes to the safety of the environment, which is their own safety, the safety of their colleagues, and the safety of the patients they serve.”

He said that those caught doing so would likely lose their jobs, if not their careers.

“We are trying to make the entire healthcare environment a COVID-free zone, and by deliberately undermining it, that goes beyond being unprofessional. It is deeply unethical and contrary to the oath a healthcare worker took when he accepted his degree. I imagine there would be licensing implications. “

But fear of professional retaliation hasn’t stopped some healthcare workers from turning the taboo subject of vaccinating against vaccines into fodder for chasing influence.

Under Hutchinson’s original comment on pinching blank cards, Texas nurse Courtney Long wrote, “Can I pay you to send me a pair?” Followed by a crying and laughing emoji. Sparks was able to identify Long through the Instagram profile Long included on her TikTok, where she talked about being a nurse, and a linked Facebook profile, under the name Courtney Renee Long, where she also talked about being a nurse. The Texas Board of Nursing website identifies Courtney Renee Long as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

“Is that you, Miss LPN?” Sparks said on a TikTok that he called Long. “Oh yeah, the Texas Board of Nursing will see all of this.”

Sparks said he reported Long to the Texas Board of Nursing. When contacted by The Daily Beast, the board said it does not comment on the investigations. The Daily Beast made several attempts to reach Long, via a number associated with the phone numbers of family members and Pinterest, the only social media account in his name that still existed as of Saturday. Calls were not returned to a number associated with his name and address.

Sparks and Walker say they also called and reported an oncology nurse in Alabama, a trauma nurse at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia and a receptionist at an asthma clinic.

If it seems surprising that there is vaccine resistance among medical professionals, even those with a strong scientific background, Schaffer said it simply highlights how many Americans are still resistant to vaccination, more than three months after the first injections hit them. arms of the first line. health workers. In February, a survey by experts from Northwestern, Northeastern, Rutgers and Harvard Universities found that 21 percent of healthcare workers surveyed did not want to get vaccinated. Hesitation, indicating skepticism toward the vaccine but not outright unwillingness to get vaccinated, was 37 percent.

“There are a great number of people who are not only indifferent but who disdain the vaccine, they just won’t get it. And that’s what’s left of a political approach to covid under the last administration, ”Schaffner said. “It’s hard to undo that hood.”

Of course, healthcare workers are not alone among anti-vaccines trying to pass themselves off as vaccinated, and on Thursday, the Office of the Inspector General warned those who have been vaccinated not to post images of their vaccine cards online due to to an increase in fake cards.

As more Americans get vaccinated, anti-vaccines have taken to social media to raise fears of a Biden-ruled future in which those without vaccination cards will be turned away at restaurants, hospitals and even Target.

“If they give a card to verify that you are vaccinated, apparently there is a reason for it. You may not be able to go shopping, travel, buy underwear, “posted TikTok user truevalor469 from a recliner earlier this month. “Mmm. Sounds like the beginning.”

The backlash against Walker and Sparks’ crusade to uncover anti-vaccine healthcare workers on TikTok has been harsh. On Wednesday, Sparks changed her phone number after another TikTok user found it and started harassing her. The threats were so serious that on Friday he had to issue a statement on his company’s website and close the reviews section.

So far, there are no government requirements to have a vaccination card, and Schaffner said he has not heard of any private companies requiring them for their employees or customers. Yesterday, Rutgers University in New Jersey became the first university to require students to be vaccinated, but Schaffner said the fears, widespread as they may be, are for now overblown.

“By misrepresenting themselves, they just avoid a lot of controversy,” he said. “So they are doing this reprehensible thing to avoid being awkward and having to explain themselves and be held accountable for their actions.”

Walker said he suspects that some of the users may not be as serious about faking their vaccines as they are about pursuing the influence that the taboo subject brings.

“If you post a TikTok that says, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get vaccinated. Sell ​​me a vaccine card, ‘that’s a 100k automatic views,’ Walker told The Daily Beast.

A TikTok user by the name of linds3r commented on a viral TikTok about fake vaccination cards, writing: “I have a template if you want it” and later, “hahaha, I’ve done 8 of them so far, ahead and from behind “. That user, Lindsey Stauffer, says on Facebook that she is a medical billing clerk at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He also makes and sells anti-Biden and pro-Trump t-shirts from his Facebook page, which includes several of the same images from his TikTok.

Contacted by The Daily Beast, Stauffer admitted to writing the posts, but denied making eight cards.

“I did not write about making them. I said I know where you can get one. You can go to Google right now and find images about it yourself, ”Stauffer told The Daily Beast. “I’m not doing anything. Anyone can access it. “

Stauffer also denied living in Lebanon, although the phone number that used to reach her indicates it as her address. She denied working at the VA despite listing her as her employer on Facebook. (The federal Office of Veterans Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.) Stauffer also said that she had already been vaccinated.

“So why would I have to do them?” he told The Daily Beast.

But even when medical professionals joke about faking their vaccine, Schaffner said, it can create problems.

“When people hear that healthcare workers are doing this, it undermines the public’s faith in these institutions and their ability to keep them safe,” Schaffner said.

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