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Photo courtesy of Savannah Malm

A Tampa-area man lost his job at a marketing and web design company after a TikTok user exposed his video advertising a fake COVID-19 vaccine card business.

Why it matters: Without an official database for verifying vaccinations, those little pieces of paper are currently the best source of proving vaccination status — and vaccines remain our best chance to reach herd immunity.

The state of play: James Koncar's fake vaccination card video — which included the caption "F*ck masks" — was highlighted by Mississippi pharmacist Savannah Malm, who has posted other viral call-out videos linked to the pandemic.

  • Malm also showed Koncar's LinkedIn profile and several other TikToks where he used misogynistic and racist language.
  • Just six hours after Malm's post on Friday, Tampa marketing company Thirteen05 announced it had fired Koncar, who lives in Wesley Chapel, according to a public records search.
  • Thirteen05 declined interviews with Axios and Koncar could not be reached for comment. He has since deleted his LinkedIn.

What she's saying: "Over a year into this pandemic, we do not have the time to coddle these people," Malm told Axios.

  • "We don’t have time to joke. Patient safety and public health are not a joke. Over 500,000 people dead is not a joke. Creating vaccine skepticism when this could end the pandemic is not a joke. If you’re going to post it on social media, I’m going to respond on social media," she added.
  • Malm told Axios she took down her TikTok at the request of Thirteen05, but it has since been reposted on Twitter. She said she's received death threats since she started posting her videos.

Where it stands: Koncar has not been charged with any crimes as of Monday.

  • Tampa Police and Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials both said they have not charged anyone with crimes related to forging vaccine cards.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that Koncar’s LinkedIn was deleted. Axios is attempting to verify whether other social media profiles belong to him.

For more stories like this, sign up for the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Mar 29, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

GOP vaccine hesitancy is a big obstacle for Iowa's herd immunity

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Republicans, especially men, are among the most reluctant to receive a COVID vaccine, Iowa and national polls show.

Why it matters: That runs counter to the dominant narrative that minority groups are the most hesitant, as explored last week in a New York Times podcast.

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

The quest to create vaccine passports

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is working alongside private companies to create "vaccine passports" that would allow Americans to prove they've been vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Many companies have said they'll require proof of vaccination as part of reopening.

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

Moderna ships 100 millionth COVID-19 vaccine dose to U.S. government

Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna has shipped 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government, meeting its Q1 goal for the first tranche of 300 million shots purchased by the U.S., the pharmaceutical company announced Monday.

What's next: Moderna said it expects to meet the rest of its commitment dates to the U.S. government, including another 100 million doses by the end of May and the third set of 100 million doses by the end of July.