Fake vaccination cards popping up

Blank Vaccination Card. Photo Courtesy: Amazon.com

The coronavirus pandemic has brought on many changes and introduced new concepts we have never seen before. One is the forgery of COVID-19 vaccination cards.

E-Commerce sites such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy have had vendors selling hundreds of blank vaccination cards anywhere from $12.99 to $40 depending on the number of cards in the pack. Now that college campuses have resumed in-person classes, students are being offered fake vaccination cards through social networks.

Kabria Mullins, a junior pre-physical therapy student, witnessed fake vaccination cards being offered in a GroupMe chat.

“I was offered a fake vaccination card through GroupMe, but I kindly declined,” Mullins said. “I’m not sure how much the person was charging for it because they wanted you to directly message them for details.”

Jayla Smith, a senior public relations student, says fake vaccination cards are a threat to all of us.

“It’s putting people’s health at risk when coronavirus is something everyone should take seriously,” Smith said. “I haven’t been offered a fake card, but I have heard about it.”

On March 30, the FBI issued a public service announcement stating, “If You Make or Buy a Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, You Endanger Yourself and Those Around You, and You Are Breaking the Law.”

The FBI recommends that vaccinated citizens not post pictures of their vaccination cards.

Mullins believes criminals selling fake vaccination cards will negatively impact the general public’s health.

“I think they’re trying to make a quick buck and aren’t thinking about the thousands of people who have died from COVID-19,” Mullins said. “On the flip side, those who are buying the fake cards could either have COVID, catch it or roam freely without wearing a mask because they have a ‘vaccination card.’”

Bonita Hughes, a registered nurse who works in Palm Beach County, is appalled by the sale of fake cards.

“Selling and purchasing fake vaccination cards is a dangerous and selfish thing to do because people are putting themselves and others at risk,” Hughes said. “It creates a false narrative because if you’re in a room with vaccinated people and everyone lets their guard down, but one person actually has a fake card, everyone else runs the risk of contracting the virus.”

Hughes said  that if people were more educated on how vaccines work, our society probably wouldn’t be dealing with this issue to the extent we are.

Not only is falsifying immunity illegal, the FBI also warns against the unauthorized use of an official government’s agency seal which can result in criminal charges.

Hughes suggests that college campuses continue to take precaution.

“Of course, students should still be social distancing and making responsible choices,” Hughes said. “Most importantly, campuses should encourage vaccinations by educating students on how it really works and gaining the trust of the people that the vaccination isn’t out to cause harm.”