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VERIFY: Vaccine cards can be easily faked, but not the information behind them

There have been several reports of people making fake vaccine cards. But, states already have a record of who has gotten the vaccines.

WASHINGTON — It is a scam made for the pandemic: fake vaccine cards. This week, police arrested a bar owner in California for, allegedly, selling forged cards.

Inside the bar in Clements, California found dozens of blank cards sitting around, waiting to get filled in.


How easy is it to spot a fake vaccine card?


It would be hard to spot a fake vaccine card. They are easily forged. However, it is more difficult to fake the information behind them.


Dr. Amesh Adalja, a health policy expert from Johns Hopkins University.  The Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


Vaccine cards are ripe for forgery. They are a piece of paper with basic identification on them. Followed by which batch of the vaccine you got and where.

They were meant to be more of a reminder of vaccine appointments than a vaccine identifier, according to Dr. Adalja.

Which brings us to the next question: Why get a fake vaccine card?

As businesses and offices start to reopen, some may require you to show you’ve been vaccinated. But, if the company takes it a step further, this little piece of paper won’t cut it.

What you may not know is that every vaccine goes into a database.

According to Dr. Adalja, the vaccination center where you got the shot submits your confirmation to a state vaccine database. This action is nothing new. Any vaccine you have gotten is on one of these registries.

If a company or a business cross-references your vaccine card with the database, they can easily find who has a fake card.  

Yes, the cards are easy to fake, but when it comes to faking the information behind them that is not easily done.

The penalties for forging a vaccine card, unlike the fake cards, are very real. A spokesperson for the FBI explained that faking a vaccine card requires someone to fake the HHS and CDC government seals.

That action alone carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Not to mention any pandemic-related charges that could be tacked on.

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