Covid-19 vaccines

Trinidad and Tobago is not the only country in the world facing the challenge of fraudsters creating fake vaccine cards.

Countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and Russia have had cases of people engaging in the illegal act of selling fake vaccine cards.

Just last week in California, a woman licensed as a homoeopathic doctor became the first person to face US federal charges for issuing fake vaccine cards.

According to a Forbes report, Juli A Mazi, of Napa, California, is facing one charge of wire fraud and one of false statements related to health matters in the case.

Prosecutors say the woman gave patients CDC Covid-19 vaccine cards that showed they’d received the Moderna vaccine, while also providing instructions for patients to fraudulently fill out vaccination dates on the card.

The report stated there is a flourishing black market for vaccine cards fuelled by millions of vaccine-hesitant Americans.

It stated CDC guidance first issued in May that essentially told vaccinated Americans they could return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles appeared to lead to a significant spike in demand for fake vaccine cards.

Google searches for “fake Covid card” and “fake vaccine card” spiked at 950 per cent and 1,150 per cent, respectively, following the new CDC guidance, for instance.

Interception

Proof of vaccination—commonly called vaccine passports—is also being required for many gatherings.

Most major cruise lines are requiring all passengers be vaccinated before boarding, while some sports teams are requiring all fans be vaccinated before attending games.

In Canada, bogus vaccine cards are also an issue.

A report from Global News stated that the easing of Canadian travel restrictions came with news that proof of vaccination would soon be required by those arriving in the country and would need to be put into the federal ArriveCAN app.

Travellers must retain a paper or electronic copy of their vaccination documentation and the originals of any certified translations for verification at the border and for 14 days following their entry to Canada.

However, a recurring theme in some online anti-vaccination circles is the belief that Covid-19 vaccination records can easily be forged or faked using Photoshop or other methods, the report stated.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) said it is working closely with domestic and international partners to detect and intercept such documents as early as possible in the travel continuum.

The CBSA reiterated that all travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by law to respond truthfully to questions posed to them at the border, and that providing false information may result in a fine up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment, or both, under the Quarantine Act.

“Foreign nationals who provide false information may also be denied entry and/or banned from returning to Canada. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years or both,” the statement read.

Germany too

In Germany the BBC reported that German police force has set up a special team to combat a growing black market in forged vaccine certificates.

It stated that police in Cologne indicated that fraudsters were communicating via an encrypted messenger service which makes investigations difficult.

The report stated they are still trying to determine the scale of the problem nationally.

Some people are duped into paying about €100 (£86; US$122), then get nothing.

In Russia, local news reports that a sophisticated black market for fake vaccine cards is thriving in secret Telegram forums even as Covid-19 runs rampant through the country.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

The tenth person to test positive for the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus in Trinidad and Tobago did not travel to, or out of the country.

THE much-anticipated legal proceedings involving the question of whether there was an error in the appointment of Gary Griffith as acting Commissioner of Police is already facing its first hurdle.

POLICE shot and killed a teenage dancehall artiste near his Laventille home on Saturday night, claiming he had pointed a gun at them, but his friends and neighbours alleged that he was killed unjustly.

WHEN driving through the Naparima-Mayaro Road’s main route from Princes Town to San Fernando, avoiding the estimated 1,500 potholes, bumps and sinks that dot its surface can seem like an exercise in futility. 

ROMAN CATHOLIC Archbishop Jason Gordon yesterday lamented a country plagued by “corruption” and “disrespect”, calling Trinidad and Tobago a place where “it is difficult to keep your soul intact”.

Recommended for you