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MADISON – Don’t even think about it! State and federal authorities warn that making, buying, or selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is illegal and punishable under federal law.
The unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a crime and may be punishable under federal law under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017 and other applicable laws, the Wisconsin Department of Health Service (DHS) reported in a news release issued Friday.
“COVID-19 vaccines provide important protection for all of us when we are at school, attending public events, using mass transit, at the workplace, or attending a place of worship. Those who might claim to be vaccinated when they are not are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of contracting COVID-19,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a news release. “Get vaccinated, encourage your friends and family to do the same, and add an extra layer of protection by wearing a mask in public places including for teachers, staff, and students in our schools.”
DHS also reminds Wisconsinites to not post-vaccine cards on social media as the information could be stolen to commit fraud. If you have been vaccinated and the card was not filled out correctly, call your vaccine provider instead of filling in the card yourself.
“Legitimate COVID-19 vaccine cards—like the vaccines themselves—are crucial tools to prevent illness and death. People who are foolish or selfish (or both) enough to supply bogus vaccination cards, allowing others to circumvent COVID-19 curtailment efforts, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Timothy M. O’Shea, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said in a news release.
If you know or suspect that any health care provider, pharmacy, private business, or Wisconsin resident is creating, distributing, selling, buying, or forging COVID-19 vaccination cards in-person or online, please report such conduct to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Inspector General at 877-865-3432 or www.reportfraud.wisconsin.gov; Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General at 800-HHS-TIPS or www.oig.hhs.gov; or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
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