Counterfeit vaccine cards becoming larger problem as areas begin to reopen

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV)— Recent recommendations from the CDC mean less mask-wearing if you’re fully vaccinated, but proving vaccine status might prove tricky and has potential to open up a market for fakes.

The less we rely on things like masks and mandates, the more we have to rely on one another to stay safe. This drives a problem of some bad apples trying to scam the masses.

“During the COVID crisis, we saw, even people selling vaccines on the black market on the “dark web”. We have no idea if these were legitimate vaccines that were diverted and sold into the black market or if these were just counterfeit from the start,” said John Sancenito, president of Information Network Associates.

But now vaccines are widely available and your vaccination card is proof that you got the shot. So scammers are now pivoting.

“Individuals are trying to sell the bogus cards for people to fill in themselves so that if they’re not vaccinated, they can still have all the privileges of those who are,” stated Sancenito.

Law enforcement is monitoring the “dark web” and social media trying to get the sites blocked, but the cards are very simple and so very easily counterfeited.

“They’re not very sophisticated cards, they’re very simple the logos of CDC are available elsewhere. They’re easily manufactured,” said Sancenito.

Talks of vaccine passports have been met with a lot of resistance despite the idea of accessibility and security. Both paper and digital have their flaws.

“We have to get away from paper. I hate to say it but we have to go to digital, which causes other equitable situations because not everybody has access to the internet,” said Michael Seavers, assistant professor of healthcare informatics at Harrisburg University.

“Looking at the broader public health consequences of this we know we’re in a situation where being vaccinated protects you as an individual, but it also protects people in our community,” said Emily Largent Assistant Professor of medical ethics & policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The vaccine immunocompromised people for example, and they really rely on us to come together as a community and protect them through herd immunity,” stated Largent

When it comes to a “centralized vaccination status system”, many are concerned with privacy issues and are keeping their eyes north to what New York is doing. We will be keeping an eye on what’s going on in the commonwealth.

Businesses are working to determine if they’ll need to change policies moving forward.

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