Milwaukee pharmacist tells I-Team people ask for blank COVID-19 vaccine cards at least once a week

Posted at 6:02 AM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 07:24:02-04

While COVID-19 keeps its strong grip on our communities, crimes connected to the pandemic or vaccine are surfacing. This summer we're seeing reports of phony vaccine cards.

In July, police arrested a California doctor for allegedly falsifying vaccination cards.

In May, law enforcement busted a bar owner also in California for allegedly selling bogus cards for $20.

With Summerfest now requiring either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of a vaccine at check-in, it begs the question, how closely are these paper cards being reviewed?

Especially if all you need to show is a screenshot of the card on your cell phone.

"People will be trained, but I really can't speak to that," said Don Smiley, the President, and CEO of Summerfest.

The cards have your name, your date of birth, where you got your COVID-19 shot or shots, and the dates.

Hayat pharmacist Hashim Zaibak says compared to other countries our paper vaccine proof is outdated.

"Other countries, they have electronic cards, they have apps and nobody can actually fake it because they have the QR codes and they're a lot more sophisticated," Dr. Zaibak said.

Earlier this year, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joined 44 attorneys general from across the country asking online platforms like eBay, Shopify, and Twitter to watch their sites for counterfeit cards. But, there may be other ways people try and defraud the system.

"They ask if they can get one of the blank cards I'm assuming so they can just write their name and show it to their employer," Dr. Zaibak said.

He says once a week, people ask him for a blank vaccination card. A spokesperson with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says it's not worth trying this out.

"Creating vaccine cards is not only dangerous for you and the health of your community, but it is illegal," said Lara Sutherlin with DATCP.

Offenders can face up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine for misrepresenting the official seal of a U.S. agency, like the CDC logo.

DATCP hasn't had any complaints about people making or using fake vaccine cards in Wisconsin, but the agency says that doesn't mean it's not happening or that it won't.

If you come across a fake card or someone selling one report it. You can report it to any one of these government agencies: DATCP, FBI, or FTC.

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