Two women who dressed as “grannies” to get COVID vaccinations Wednesday were turned away and issued trespass warnings at the Orange County Convention Center where the state is giving shots, officials said.
The women, identified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as Olga Monroy-Ramirez, 34, and Martha Monroy, 44, disguised themselves with bonnets, gloves, glasses — “the whole thing,” said Dr. Raul Pino, state health officer in Orange.
He described the bonnets as “shower caps.”
Pino’s description of the brazen ruse at Thursday’s regular Orange update on the pandemic drew international headlines, with the Florida “grannies” being featured by outlets ranging from The Guardian, to HuffPost and People.
Though turned away Wednesday, they apparently managed to get a first dose previously because the document they presented for a second dose was valid.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Guido said a sheriff’s report had no information about how the women were dressed.
She said they had altered their years of birth on their vaccination registrations to bypass the state system which prioritizes people age 65 and older.
“Their names matched their registration but not their dates of birth,” she said.
Deputies were asked by Health Department personnel to issue trespass warnings to the women.
Pino said the Health Department’s investigation will try to determine where they were vaccinated earlier and how did they managed to get an appointment. He said the department will “try to figure out if there are any holes, any loopholes, in the process that are allowing people to do that.”
Pino said people have been frustrated by the scarcity of supply for the vaccine.
“If it wasn’t for the many people who need it and cannot get it, it’s kind of hilarious in a sense,” he said of the women’s disguise. “But it’s also disappointing because they are taking the place of someone else in much higher need.”
He said he wasn’t surprise the ruse worked at least once and suggested there may have been other successful tricksters.
“When you’re moving that volume, things like this can happen,” he said.
The state plans to increase the number of daily vaccinations at the convention center from 2,500 to 3,000 on Monday.
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