COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even though the Delta variant accounts for most COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to protect yourself and the ones you love is by getting vaccinated.
But what if you’ve encountered someone who is lying about their vaccination status?
A viewer wrote to 10TV with the following question: “Is there a penalty in Ohio for people who lie about getting the Covid-19 vaccine? What about for a medical professional?”
Our sources are:
- Jade Robinson, an attorney in Cincinnati
- Ohio Department of Health
- State Medical Board of Ohio
- Ohio Board of Nursing
“If someone, just the everyday person is lying about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, then the person could be found in trouble [in a civil way and] found liable,” said Robinson. “Or they could be in trouble criminally. So they could be criminally charged.”
Robinson said it depends on the situation. She said if someone is using a fake vaccine card, they could face forgery charges by the state of Ohio. If the fake card also has a fake CDC logo – they could also face federal forgery charges.
“So both of those come with jail, prison time respectively and fines as well,” she said.
So yes, while it depends on the case -- we can verify it is true – you could face legal consequences for lying about your vaccination status.
Now – what if a medical professional lies about their vaccination status?
Let's first take a closer look at how many medical professionals have been vaccinated so far at our four major hospital systems.
According to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, approximately 72% of its employees have been vaccinated.
At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 70% have been vaccinated to date.
At Mount Carmel, it’s estimated nearly 70% have been vaccinated so far.
And at OhioHealth, there is no “accurate number to share” currently.
“The same criminal charges apply, they could be criminally charged by the state of Ohio or the federal government," said Robinson.
That's if they are found to have a fake COVID vaccination card. Robinson also says doctors who lie could also face a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The State Medical Board of Ohio does not have a rule that specifically addresses the vaccination status of a provider.
However, grounds for board disciplinary action are enumerated in Ohio Revised Code 4731.22(B) which states “making a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading statement” can result in disciplinary action – like loss of a license and or fines.
“Making a false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading statement” can result in disciplinary action – like loss of a license and or fines.
“If a licensed nurse provides false/misleading/deceptive statements to their employer, other members of the health care team, or facilities in which they work, that would be a violation of a practice rule,” said Holly R. Fischer, J.D., Chief Legal Counsel, Ohio Board of Nursing.
So yes, we can verify it is true medical professionals could also face penalties like legal action, loss of license, and fines for lying about their vaccination status. But again, it depends on a case-by-case basis.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there is no database to track a medical professional’s vaccination status and there are no plans in the works to create one.
A patient of a provider licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio who believes they have been lied to by their provider or has an encounter in which they feel they were not provided the proper standard of care may file a complaint online or by calling the confidential hotline at 1-833-333-SMBO (7626).
Is there something you’d like us to Verify? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article reported the State Medical Board of Ohio has a rule that addresses the vaccination status of a provider. This is not the case.