vaccination cards
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) takes questions as he discusses the Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget resolution during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Gabrielle Crockett

Some shameless people will go to great lengths to avoid getting a Covid-19 vaccine – including spending money to buy fake vaccination cards on the internet, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Counterfeit card-makers both at home and overseas are producing and selling the fake vaccination documents, undermining the national effort to vaccinate people against the deadly Covid-19 virus. Schumer said on Sunday that the illegal enterprisers are profiting at the expense of public health, and the time had come for the federal government to step up and take action.

During an Aug. 15 press conference at his Manhattan office, Schumer urged U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services to unite on a national crackdown against the vaccine card counterfeiters. He also called for the federal government to embark on a national campaign reminding Americans that the counterfeit operation is not only dangerous, but illegal.

Creating or using falsified vaccination cards is a violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws, punishable by a fine and up to five years behind bars.

“Fake vaccination cards have been advertised on social media, blogs and more, and now, new signs point to a ramp-up production of fake cards with government logos overseas via countries like China,” Schumer said. “That’s why we need a federal crackdown and an educational campaign to make clear this is illegal, and that there is an even easier solution for those who are looking to buy or sell fake vaccine cards — and it is to get the vaccine.”

Some of the counterfeiters have been seen peddling laminated vaccination cards for $25 a piece; others are using apps like Telegram to sell the phony documents, or “COVID-19 Vaccine Cards Certificate,” for as much as $200.

On Saturday, a CBP inspection of a suspicious package that arrived at the Port of Memphis, Tennessee contained 51 fake Covid-19 vaccination cards with blanks for the recipients name and birthdate, the vaccine maker, lot number, dates and places where the shots were administered, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo.

“Fake vaccine cards are now a very real problem, but we can also get it under control if we hit all these fronts and keep working to fight misinformation and vaccine hesitation,” Schumer said.

This story first appeared on amNY.com.

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