A group of several dozen sanitation workers in New York City has been suspended without pay as officials investigate whether the employees used counterfeit vaccine cards in order to circumvent the city's vaccine mandate, according to a report from ABC 7.
Spokesperson Diane Struzzi told the television station, "[The Department of Investigations] is aware of allegations involving the issuance of bogus vaccination cards and declines further comment."
According to ABC's report, the employees allegedly submitted authentic vaccine cards that listed that they were vaccinated at a CVS Pharmacy with the singe-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine; however, CVS has not administered J&J shots in half a year.
The officials are looking into the reports to see if there was any payment in exchange for these falsified records and said that the department is taking these allegations seriously, reports ABC 7.
"These are very concerning allegations and we take them very seriously — getting vaccinated is important to public health, and we do not tolerate anyone faking something that is a requirement of city employment," spokesman Joshua Goodman said, according to the news outlet.
Municipal employees for the city of New York were required to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 29 and the test-out option was eliminated for city employees.
According to The New York Times, the Department of Sanitation in New York City took its vaccine rate from 67 percent to 76 percent swiftly as the mandate was enacted; however, the possibility that some of those vaccinations in that near-ten percent leap could have been fraudulent has rattled the department.
A spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) touted the mandate's apparent success for the Department of Sanitation on Twitter.
News:— Mitch Schwartz (@mhschwartz10) October 29, 2021
Vaccination rates at the Sanitation Department went up 9% just today alone. Very, very encouraging progress.
According to the Times, over 87 percent of sanitation workers in New York have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.