BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With Kern County loosening its eligibility requirements to get a Covid-19 vaccine, Kern Public Health says demand is now at an all-time high. But the vaccine isn’t the only thing in demand, which is now raising fraud concerns over vaccine cards.
“By folks doing this, this is really putting public health at risk," said Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer for Kern Public Health
The agency says they haven’t received many reports of vaccine card fraud, but that doesn’t mean it isn't a big issue. It’s an idea that has spread on social media as of late, leading people to create false cards, which Corson says is dangerous.
“Because that individual now is going to walk around and present themselves as though they are fully vaccinated, and obviously if it’s a false card, that is not the case," she said.
A tipster sending 23ABC a screenshot from a local Facebook group, with one user posting a link, asking “Need a vaccination card to thwart increasing tyranny? Download one here, and print on card stock.”
We went to the link provided and it was, in fact, a blank vaccination card that looks like the one you get after a shot.
“There are discussions about -- what are these vaccination cards going to help me be able to do, that I’m not currently able to do?" Corson said.
Guidelines recently released by the California Department of Public Health say, in the orange tier, which Kern County may be in as soon as next week, indoor activities are allowed if all guests are tested or show full proof of vaccination. Capacity in that tier would be limited to 150 people indoors. And outdoor gathering capacity would be increased for vaccinated people as well, to as much as 300.
Corson says this and other ideas have made the cards more valuable.
She also says this form of vaccine fraud is yet another reason not to post your personal vaccine card on social media.
"You’re only empowering them by giving them more information that would be on your card, with regards to when, your lot number, the type of vaccine you got, that’s all information that can be used.”
Many might ask the question, how much trouble can you get in for doing something like this? After speaking with Public Health and law enforcement officials, it appears, for now, it is not a punishable offense.