Aug. 20, 2021
Best of the States
AP finds colleges concerned as some students turn to counterfeit vaccine cards
It started with a tip.
When a college student mentioned that fellow unvaccinated students were getting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards in order to attend in-person classes, AP global investigations intern Roselyn Romero remembered that she'd seen an account on Instagram offering fake cards for $25 each.
Romero began searching social media platforms and talked to college students, faculty, administrators and health officials. What she found was a cottage industry offering to accommodate people who refuse to get vaccinated but need documentation saying that they’ve had the shots.
Her deeply reported story had nearly 250,000 pageviews on AP News and was used by hundreds of news outlets, including online and print front pages. She was also interviewed by NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded by calling for a multiagency crackdown on the counterfeit cards.
For having a major national impact with her first AP byline, Roselyn Romero wins this week’s Best of the States award.