Vaccine cards black marketMandates Give Rise to Booming Black Market for Fake Vaccine Cards

By Dora Mekouar

Published 23 September 2021

As more organizations demand proof of inoculation against COVID-19, the black market for fake vaccine cards appears to be booming. Legal experts compare phony vaccine cards to counterfeit money or fake drivers’ licenses.

As more businesses, universities, and federal and local governments demand proof of inoculation against COVID-19, the black market for fake vaccine cards appears to be booming.

U.S. Customs officials in Cincinnati, Ohio, intercepted five shipments containing 1,683 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and 2,034 fake Pfizer inoculation stickers since August 16. The shipments from China were headed to private homes and apartments in the states o Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Texas.

In August, a Chicago pharmacist was arrested after being accused of selling dozens of authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination cards on eBay. In July, a naturopathic physician in Northern California was arrested for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 immunization treatments and forged vaccination cards.

“A Type of Fraud”
Legal experts compare phony vaccine cards to counterfeit money or fake drivers’ licenses.

“It’s a type of fraud,” says Wesley Oliver, professor of law at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “There’s another theory that you are stealing from the government their insignia and their imprimatur that you are in fact vaccinated, and both are just sort of different styles of the same crime.”

President Joe Biden recently called on all businesses with 100 or more employees to require their workers either be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 once a week. A global cybersecurity company reports that the price of fake vaccine cards and the numbers of people selling them shot up since Biden announced the vaccine mandate in early September.

Pretending to be vaccinated trespasses on other people’s rights, according to Boston University law professor Christopher Robertson.

“Part of the free enterprise system is we decide where we want to go, and who we want to interact with and on what terms. And so, it really is an invasion of everyone else’s bodily integrity, their security, and knowing that they can be safe going into a place that’s requiring proof of vaccination,” Robertson says. “It’s kind of similar to battery in exposing someone to risk that they didn’t consent to be exposed to.”

Exposing Others to Risk
Last month, 15 people in New York were charged in connection with selling and buying phony COVID-19 vaccine cards. A woman who called herself @AntiVaxMomma on Instagram stands accused of selling 250 fake vaccination certificates for about $200 per card. A second suspect, a 27-year-old medical clinic worker, allegedly charged an extra $250 to enter fake vaccine data for at least 10 people into New York’s immunization database.

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