California AG: Buying or printing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is a crime

California
ABC released this photo of one of the cards.

ABC released this photo of one of the cards.

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta on Wednesday warned residents not to print fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards at home and not to purchase counterfeits.

“These counterfeit records undermine the health and safety of Californians and are also illegal,” Bonta said in a consumer alert warning. “I advise you to get your COVID-19 vaccination and the authentic vaccination record that reflects you were vaccinated. Please do not purchase a fraudulent record, do not make your own, and do not fill in blank vaccination record cards with false information.”

Officials remind residents that vaccines and vaccination cards are offered at no cost, and that anyone 12 and older is now eligible to get inoculated in California.

Vaccination cards include information about the type of shot the recipient received and when it was given.

“By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19,” officials said in a news release announcing the warning.

Additionally, officials warned that forging official documents is a federal and state crime.

“The unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a federal crime, and may be punishable under Section 1017 of Title 18 of the United States Code, and other laws,” the news release stated.

Bonta also asked Californians not to post photos of their vaccination record card on social media in an effort to avoid having their important dose information stolen. Officials offer more information about the dangers of sharing their vaccination status on social media here.

Officials urge residents to keep their vaccination cards in a safe place to prevent loss or damage. If you lose your card and need a replacement, contact your vaccination provider. You can also request your vaccination record from the California Immunization Registry. The organization, however, does not provide replacement cards.

To report any suspicious activity involving fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office here.

One instance of fake vaccination cards recently made headlines when a San Joaquin County bar owner was arrested after allegedly selling fake laminated ones for $20 at his establishment.

Residents can also contact their local district attorney’s office, contact the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, or file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Residents who were vaccinated at a Los Angeles County site are able to get a digital record of their shots, but officials warned that it’s not meant to be a “vaccine passport.”

A pilot program for digital vaccine records was met with controversy in Orange County, where some protested their use. Officials have clarified that the digital records are not required and are meant to be a convenience.

With California expanding reopenings amid steady declines in coronavirus cases and deaths, some venues are requiring proof of inoculation or a negative COVID-19 test result to enter.

The Hollywood Bowl, for instance, is designating the majority of all concert seats to fully vaccinated visitors for its 2021 season. There will only be two seating sections for patrons who are not fully vaccinated at the venue, and guests will be required to show a negative test result and a photo ID.

And local sports teams like the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Football Club are also offering seats in special vaccinated-only sections.

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