Faking COVID-19 vaccine cards is a federal crime, officials warn

Is It A Crime To Forge A Vaccine Card? And What’s The Penalty For Using A Fake?
Craig Ruttle

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2021 file photo, Sarah Gonzalez of New York, a Nurse Practitioner, displays a COVID-19 vaccine card at a New York Health and Hospitals vaccine clinic in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

MADISON, Wis. — A day after President Joe Biden announced a new wide-ranging vaccine mandate, including companies with more than 100 employees, federal and state officials are reminding people that faking and forging proof of COVID-19 vaccinations is a federal crime.

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin joined several other offices in a joint release Friday, explaining the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal — such as the CDC seal that appears on COVID-19 vaccination cards — is a crime and punishable under federal law, citing Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 107.

“Legitimate COVID-19 vaccine cards — like the vaccines themselves — are crucial tools to prevent illness and death. People who are foolish or selfish (or both) enough to supply bogus vaccination cards, allowing others to circumvent COVID-19 curtailment efforts, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

“If you have not been vaccinated, do not make your own cards or buy fake cards,” said Inspector General Anthony Baize. “If you were vaccinated and your card was not filled out correctly, do not fill in the card yourself. Instead, call your vaccine provider.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is also reminding people not to post full pictures of their vaccine cards on social media, because the information could be copied or stolen by other people and used for fraud.

“COVID-19 vaccines provide important protection for all of us when we are at school, attending public events, using mass transit, at the workplace, or attending a place of worship. Those who might claim to be vaccinated when they are not are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake.