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Tipsheet

A State Has Made Falsifying a COVID-19 Vaccination Card a Crime Punishable By One Year In Jail

AP Photo/Angie Wang

A new law enacted this week has made falsifying a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine card in New York a crime punishable with one year in jail. 

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, signed off on the legislation known as the “Truth in Vaccination” law. It makes faking a vaccine card a class A misdemeanor and tampering with computer records related to vaccinations a class E felony.

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“Individuals who misrepresent their vaccination history, not only jeopardize their own health, but the health of all those they come into contact with,” a press release from Hochul’s office states. “This legislation ensures that as New York opens up and many businesses choose to rely on checking vaccination status, the falsification of vaccination records will not be tolerated.”

As Townhall covered, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in September that unvaccinated individuals would be barred from entering a slew of indoor establishments, including restaurants, gyms, and event spaces. Vaccinated individuals who wish to enter these establishments must present their vaccine proof, part of a system called “Key to NYC,” to enter.

“With the omicron variant putting our community at greater risk and threatening the progress we've made recovering from the pandemic, countless employers, schools, small businesses, and communities are relying on genuine proof of vaccination status as a tool to keep their spaces safe from COVID transmission. It's never been more urgent that we protect this process from fraud so that the health and safety of the public isn't compromised by bad actors using fraudulent vaccination cards or passports,” New York State Senator Anna Kaplan said in a statement. “The 'Truth in Vaccination' law will serve as a strong deterrent to prevent people from lying about their vaccination status, protecting public health, and ensuring our economic recovery can move forward.

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In October, USA Today reported that a New York resident was arrested after his employer discovered and reported that he had provided a fraudulent vaccine card. He was charged with a second-degree possession of a forged instrument, which qualified as a class D felony in New York, and the unauthorized use of a government agency’s seal, which is a federal crime.

"We need to make sure we learn the lessons of the pandemic so we don't make the same mistakes twice," Hochul said in a statement. "These new laws will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road."

In May, the Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to combat the spread of pandemic-related fraud. Part of this includes preventing the spread of falsified COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

According to a news release published by the DOJ, the Task Force “needs the public’s assistance in remaining vigilant and reporting suspected fraudulent activity.” Individuals are encouraged to report suspected COVID-19 related fraud for it to be reviewed and referred to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement for investigation.

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