By Brynn Landow
A blank vaccine card
Passing laws to have people show their vaccine cards may encourage people to get the vaccine, but this recent mandate also pushes people to buy fake vaccine cards. In New York City and other large metropolitan areas, vaccine requirements have led to an increase in fake COVID vaccine cards.
People are avoiding the vaccine for several reasons, including: fear of possible risks associated with long and short-term side effects, the politicization of the virus, misinformation about vaccine efficacy, and a belief that the virus is treatable and not deadly. As pressure grows to require vaccines in the workplace, people are becoming more desperate to find ways around the mandate. One of the unintended consequences of nationwide mandates is the recent price increase and demand for fake vaccine cards. It has been reported that officials have been finding these cards preprinted with the CDC logo. In response to these fake vaccine cards, there is a move to make it a crime to have a fake card, equating it to carrying a fake ID or passport, both of which carry heavy consequences.
This is not just a problem on the black market in the United States, but rather a worldwide concern. International travelers have been asked to provide both vaccine cards and proof of negative tests before coming to the United States, which has led to a rise in fake vaccine cards internationally. The fact that the card is made on paper makes it easy for people around the world to replicate and then purchase; it is even easier to replicate if only a photograph of the vaccine card is required.
A potential solution is to print vaccine cards on more secure paper in a similar fashion to passports and money. If this method proves to be too expensive, an alternative may be to improve the public's perception of the vaccine and to educate the public on the benefits of vaccination against COVID.