Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged the federal government to crack down on the sale of phony COVID-19 vaccination cards — and spread the word that “dumb” people buying the fake inoculation documentation risk spending time behind bars.
“I am urging a federal crackdown on these counterfeit COVID cards and [the start of] an education campaign to make it clear to the American people that this is illegal, you could actually go to prison for buying these,” Schumer (D- NY) said at a press conference in Manhattan.
“There are now people manufacturing and selling fake COVID cards, even though it’s a crime.
“The Feds have to step up their efforts to ameliorate this problem before it gets worse,” said Schumer, the Senate’s majority leader. “The Department of Justice must ensure that fraud cases are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
He said it is puzzling why unvaccinated people would rather shell out money for illicit counterfeit cards than head to a vaccine site and receive a shot at no cost — and in some cases, such as in New York City, even get paid.
“Some people, rather than get the vaccine, which is free, are paying money for a fake card and risking prosecution because it’s against the law,” Schumer said. “Who could be that dumb?”
Schumer suggested the federal government launch an “education campaign” that would let Americans know they face prison time for purchasing the counterfeit cards.
Customs and Border Patrol officers in Tennessee have seized thousands of phony COVID-19 vaccination cards from China in the Past year, according to the agency.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Aug. 4 that the Big Apple will in September begin requiring movie theaters, restaurants and gyms to require proof of vaccination to enter.
“Here we are going to great lengths to let people go back to their activities at restaurants, at sports stadiums, at gatherings, at clubs, with the idea that if you show the card it’s OK,” Schumer said.
“If fake cards become an epidemic, then people will no longer feel safe to gather at these places, and we will hurt our economy, as well.”