Border protection seized the cards from a Memphis port
We live in curious times. As the Delta variant of COVID surges across the U.S. and hospital beds fill, some businesses now require patrons and employees alike to show proof of vaccination. That puts those who choose not to get the dose in a tough position: stick to their guns and face the consequences, or change course and take the shot. Turns out, for some, the answer is a little less ethical: lie. The alternative market for false vaccine cards has surged, causing law enforcement to seize shipments of the bogus goods.
A Twitter user voiced their concerns about the economics of purchasing a faux vaccination card.
The Huffington Post reports that counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards have been seized by federal officials in Memphis over the last year. According to U.S. border patrol officials, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated 3,017 fake cards from over a hundred shipments that arrived at a Memphis port from China. The cards were on their way to New Orleans.
Officials said the cards have typos, and some of the Spanish wording on the back is misspelled, the CBP said in a release.
Seizures of fake vaccination cards have been reported across the country, prompting Sen. Chuck Schumer to request the CBP to team up with the FBI and the HHS to round up fake cards.
Schumer asked the Justice Department to prioritize cases involving these cards and for the CBP to ramp up its procedure to catch the contraband as soon as it arrives in the U.S.
“If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don’t order a counterfeit, waste my officer’s time, break the law, and misrepresent yourself,” read a statement by Michael Neipert, Area Port Director of Memphis. “When you order a fake vaxx card, you are using my officers time as they also seize fentanyl and methamphetamines.”
Lying about vaccination status during a pandemic is akin to domestic terrorism, one Twitter user posted.
In California, a homeopathic doctor was charged last month with one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements related to health care after allegedly selling fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards and vaccination pellets to patients. It was the first case of fraud related to counterfeit COVID-19 inoculations and vaccination cards in the federal system. The doctor could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $2.5 million if found guilty.
One Twitter user didn’t mince words about the situation:
This is a good time to point out that the CBP stresses that buying, selling or using a fake vaccination card that includes an official government agency seal ― like that of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ― can result in a fine and up to five years in prison.