Stricter corona measures increase the pressure when vaccinating – or motivate people to falsify vaccination cards. But that is anything but a trivial offense.
2G rule, 3G rule at work, compulsory tests – after the federal-state meeting, the state of Bremen also shows that the corona measures are being tightened further. Unvaccinated people have it much more difficult in everyday life. But instead of showing test results, corona vaccination certificates are being falsified more and more often. Numerous offers of fake vaccination certificates are currently circulating on the Internet and with messenger services such as Telegram. But how big is the problem of forged vaccination certificates in the state of Bremen? Is that a punishable offense? And how do I recognize the fakes? Here are the most important answers.
What does a fake vaccine cards look like?
- Counterfeiters offer two types of proof of vaccination. First, the fake entry about the Covid-19 vaccination in the yellow vaccination booklet. The vaccination records themselves, stamps and batch labels can easily be downloaded from the Internet. Images of real vaccination records that vaccinated people have uploaded on social networks are often used. The batch number data is particularly sensitive. This medical label can be used to track which product group the vaccine belongs to. Bremen’s police therefore continue to warn against posting photos of your own vaccination card on social media after a Covid vaccination. “Criminals often exploit the data,” says Nils Matthiesen, spokesman for the Bremen police.
The police cannot rule out forgery attempts with digital corona vaccination certificates, said Bremerhaven’s police spokesman Uwe Mikloweit. In Telegram groups, false QR codes of digital vaccination certificates are offered for up to 500 euros.
Vaccination cards, such as the yellow booklet, do not contain any counterfeit protection or security features. There are different models and replacement certificates.
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How can I tell if the fake vaccine cards is forged?
- Identity card: The data on the vaccination certificate must match those on the identity card. This is checked, for example, in pharmacies, where a digital corona vaccination certificate can be issued upon presentation of the vaccination card.
- Vaccination date and vaccination intervals: Do the vaccination intervals match the STIKO recommendation? The vaccination interval for mRNA vaccines is normally three to six weeks, with AstraZeneca the vaccination interval can be up to twelve weeks. The date of vaccination should also be checked. Is the entry of the corona vaccination at the family doctor older than in April 2021? Then the family doctor should be contacted for a check-up. Because: GPs in the state of Bremen have only been vaccinating since the second week of April 2021.
- Structure of the vaccination pass: If the vaccination pass is new, it should contain an extra page for the corona vaccination. Older vaccinations are not entered there – at most, they are added.
- Batch number: The sticker can also provide an indication of a forgery. Because: Comirnaty labels now have a watermark. Moderna’s vaccine even has a 2D code.
Checking a vaccination certificate for authenticity is not that easy, says Bremen’s police spokeswoman Franka Haedke. The reason are the different labels and vaccination cards in Germany. If there is any doubt about the authenticity of the corona vaccination in the vaccination certificate, Haedke advises: “It is best to check whether the doctor or the vaccination center really exists”. You can do that with a quick phone call.
Will I be punished with a fake covid vaccine card?
Anyone who uses a forged vaccination certificate commits forgery. This is what the recently passed Infection Protection Act provides. “In addition to a preliminary investigation, users of false certificates or vaccination cards are also threatened with being banned from the house at events,” adds Haedke. The manufacture, distribution and users of forged vaccination certificates could lead to imprisonment of up to five years – or fines.