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Sources Tell CBS2 Dozens Of Sanitation Employees Provided Fake COVID Vaccine Cards After Mandate Took Effect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Ninety-three percent of New York City employees are vaccinated, but now, two weeks after the mandate took effect, there's word that dozens may have submitted fake vaccine cards.

Eighty-seven percent of sanitation workers are vaccinated and for the last two weeks, they've been picking up the slack, working Sundays, to make up for those who chose not to get the shot by Nov. 1.

But now, a source from the Department of Sanitation tells CBS2 even fewer employees may be vaccinated, alleging at least 50 workers provided fake vaccine verification.

The source says multiple employees claimed to have received the Johnson & Johnson shot at CVS locations on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, but those locations were not administering the brand.

New Yorkers had mixed reactions to the reports.

"How can you get something fake? It's not fair. You have to do the truth," one person told CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

"At the end of the day, if you have to pay rent, if you really need to get food on your table, then you gotta do what you gotta do," Bronx resident Joel Espinosa said.

"I think it's horrible. Like, just get the shot. But at the same time, I don't blame them," one person said.

"I took it because it was mandatory at my work," one woman said. "It's not fair for us."

"Lying is a problem in general," one man said.

The sanitation workers union did not get back to us, but a DSNY spokesperson said the agency is "actively investigating the situation" and that "anyone found to have faked their vaccination will be suspended without pay."

There are also allegations involving the FDNY.

The New York Post reports blank cards were stolen from vaccination sites administered by the department and forged.

The FDNY had no comment, and the head of the firefighters union told CBS2 he is not aware of any member being under investigation.

The city's Department of Investigation says: "DOI is aware of allegations involving the issuance of bogus vaccination cards and declines further comment."

Ninety-three percent of city workers are vaccinated, but thousands have requested religious and medical exemptions. The most applications have been filed by the NYPD -- more than 6,000.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 1.1 million children under the age of 12 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 50,000 in New York City alone.

For the first time in two months, COVID cases are rising again across the country with Thanksgiving fast approaching.

"We're going to see a post-holiday spike, there's no questions about that. People are exhausted right now, but we need to remain vigilant," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

Colorado is among the country's biggest hotspots for COVID-19 despite a high vaccination rate. Gov. Jared Polis is joining other state leaders, including California and New Mexico, to ignore federal recommendations and make booster shots available to all adults.

In regards to the alleged scheme, a CVS spokesperson says "We've contacted New York City's Department of Investigation and have been told that CVS Pharmacy is not a target of their investigation into this matter. We'll cooperate fully with investigators as the case moves forward."

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