Covid-19 Vaccine

Conn. Woman Pleads Guilty in False COVID-19 Vaccine Card Scheme

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A woman accused of fraudulently issuing over a dozen COVID-19 vaccination cards has pleaded guilty, according to the Dept. of Justice.

Officials said 25-year-old Zaya Powell, of Waterbury, pleaded guilty to a false statement offense relating to the creation of false vaccine cards.

Court documents show that Powell worked as a data entry specialist for Griffin Health and traveled to various COVID-19 vaccination sites across Connecticut for her job. Although she didn't administer the vaccines, she had access to the hospital system's electronic health record system and to stacks of blank vaccine cards.

DOJ officials said she also had access to the Vaccine Administration Management System, known as VAMS, which is a database developed by the CDC that tracked vaccine administration.

Powell allegedly created 14 fraudulent vaccination records in VAMS between Aug. and Oct. 2021. The records indicated that the individuals received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a Griffin Health location when that wasn't the case, according to court documents.

Four people who received false vaccine cards were state employees that worked at the Southbury Training School, a Dept. of Developmental Services facility. The individuals were considered state employees or state hospital employees and were required to meet the vaccination requirements in Executive Order 13G, officials said.

The four employees sought and used the fraudulent cards and VAMS entries to claim they received their vaccination, court documents show.

Powell pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement relating to a health care matter. She faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Officials said sentencing will take place on Nov. 4.

The Office of the Inspector General is investigating.

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