KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — As more colleges and universities mandate COVID-19 vaccines for the fall semester, school officials are on the lookout for fake vaccination records.
Kalamazoo College is requiring all students be vaccinated before arriving on campus.
The private college is in the process of verifying records, according to Malcolm Smith, the dean of students.
“If students can get a fake identification, they can certainly get a fake vaccination card so we knew this was going to be a concern across universities and colleges,” Smith said.
A student could be expelled from the college for presenting a fake card.
“That student is clearly not vaccinated so there’s one issue, the other issue is they’re falsifying documents and that would be a violation of our code of conduct,” Smith said.
They could also potentially face legal ramifications for falsely using a federal agency seal, which could result in fines or prison time.
Marcia Mansaray, deputy health officer for Ottawa County, says many colleges across the state are verifying vaccination records.
“The university can ask a student whether or not they’re vaccinated,” Mansaray said. “They do have access to the Michigan registry for immunizations. They have to apply for that and be granted that access and there is oversight and so they do have staff that are qualified to get that.”
Colleges and universities are also verifying this information with health departments and medical providers out of state.
Mansaray says the practice of checking vaccination records is not new and is not a violation of the law.
“These types of things are being litigated but, so far, the cases that have been heard and judges are indicating that this is legal,” Mansaray said.
Western Michigan University is not requiring the vaccine but is asking students to voluntarily submit information, which is then verified, for a chance to win scholarships or prizes.
The dean of students at Kalamazoo College says making a policy to require the vaccine was the right decision.
“It doesn’t mean we are not thoughtful and care about the people who are hesitant or simply refuse but we have to do what’s best we believe for the whole,” Smith said.