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Some people ‘identify as fully vaccinated’ even if they aren’t

In one Michigan county, there are people who identify as vaccinated — but about one-third actually are

Syringes that are prepared with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine lie in a basket.
Syringes that have been prepared with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

There are people in the United States who currently identify as vaccinated against COVID-19 — even if they haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where are people identifying as vaccinated?

In one Michigan county — located in the Upper Peninsula — there are people who are saying they’re vaccinated even when they aren’t vaccinated. This trend began after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to lift its mandate on face masks for the fully vaccinated.

  • “A lot of people are using the phrase, ‘I identify as fully vaccinated’ and taking their masks off,” said Kerry Ott, the public information officer for the Luce, Mackinac, Alger and Schoolcraft health department in Michigan, according to Michigan Radio.
  • She added: “I’m not kidding. ... They’re not vaccinated, but they’re going to take their masks off.”

Ott told Michigan Radio businesses in Michigan have their hands tied. There’s not much they can do to make sure people are vaccinated.

  • “We’re just repeating what is in the governor’s orders. We’re not asking for people’s (vaccination) cards. We’re just asking for them to self attest their vaccination status. And if they say yes, we’re telling the businesses, ‘Then take them at their word and move forward.’”

She told Michigan Radio that businesses need to be held accountable, too.

  • “I have another business that’s got concerns because they have staff that they know are not vaccinated, who now are coming to work without their masks on, (saying) ‘Oh, yeah, I am.’ So it’s difficult.”

COVID-19 vaccine and the honor system

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its change for fully vaccinated people to ditch their masks, much of it was reliant on people being honest about their vaccination status.

  • “You’re gonna be depending on people being honest enough to say whether they are vaccinated or not,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN when the CDC announced it changes.

Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, told CNN he didn’t see the honor system working his city.

  • “It creates these sort of challenges where, how does the store clerk check it? How does our health department actually enforce any rule at all?” Lucas said. “So, while I respect many of the jurisdictions that are trying to, I think, really have adherence to the CDC (guidance), it’s a challenge for us.”

Why doesn’t the honor system always work? According to The Washington Post, the U.S. is too polarized to make it work.

  • “That lack of trust, fueled by the ongoing politicization of the pandemic, tears at the fabric of a public health strategy built on the assumption that other people will do the right thing,” according to The Washington Post.