An Illinois woman was arrested in Hawaii and now faces a year in jail and a $5,000 fine after she was caught entering the Aloha State with a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.
A huge red flag: the card claimed that she received the “Maderna” vaccine, as opposed to the Moderna MRNA, +3.99% vaccine, according to court documents reviewed by HawaiiNewsNow. This led “Maderna” to start trending on Twitter TWTR, +1.33% on Wednesday, with more than 14,000 tweets before noon ET.
Chloe Mrozak, 24, was arrested at Oahu’s Daniel K. Inouy International Airport on Sunday, August 29th, and is being held on $2,000 bail.
State investigators were tipped off that she may have uploaded false documents under the state’s Safe Travels Program in order to skip traveler quarantine rules, which require unvaccinated visitors to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
This mandatory quarantine program — as well as the islands being fairly isolated — helped Hawaii to keep its COVID-19 cases relatively low throughout the pandemic. But like many places, the state has seen a spike in cases driven by the delta variant. Honolulu now requires anyone visiting restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, and Gov. David Ige has asked visitors and residents not to travel to Hawaii, except on essential business.
Mrozak arrived in Oahu a week ago Monday on a Southwest LUV, -0.51% flight, according to court documents, and left the airport before screeners could confirm her hotel reservations. She listed a Waikiki Holiday Inn Express as her local accommodations, but when investigators checked with the hotel, they found no reservations under her name.
What’s more, her handwritten COVID vaccine card also claimed she was vaccinated in Delaware by members of the National Guard, but when the authorities checked with the state, there was no record of her vaccination.
The state investigators found Mrozak at the airport as she was preparing to leave Hawaii at the end of her trip. She told the arresting officer that she got her vaccination from her doctor at her doctor’s office, documents say, and that she paid for the shot. (In fact, the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed for free by states and local communities.) She was traveling with another woman, who was not arrested.
Mrozak is being held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, accused of falsifying vaccination documents, which is a misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
A Florida couple was also arrested early last month on suspicion that they used fake vaccine cards to travel to Hawaii with their two children. Daniela and Enzo Dalmazzo of Miami also had fake vaccine cards for their kids, who were too young to be vaccinated, according to court documents. The family was fined $8,000 and released.
And two more travelers, identified as Norbert Chung and Trevor Chung, were arrested at Daniel K. Inouye Airport last month for allegedly using fake vaccination cards to come to the Hawaiian islands.
“The Department of the Attorney General will investigate and prosecute those who cheat the Safe Travels program, which was established to keep our islands safe,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement to HawaiiNewsNow.