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Fake coronavirus vaccine cards are illegal to use, so why are these companies selling them?

As recently as earlier this month, e-commerce sites likes Etsy and Amazon have allowed counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines cards to be sold on their website.

A COVID-19 vaccination card in Wilmington, California.
A COVID-19 vaccination card is displayed at the Banning Recreation Center Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Wilmington, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

Fake coronavirus vaccine cards are illegal, and their use could be dangerous, but this hasn’t stopped sellers from peddling the counterfeit proofs of vaccination online.

As recently as earlier this month, do-it-yourself vaccination cards have been found online at Amazon and Etsy, reported Media Matters researcher Olivia Little.

  • In her reporting, Little found it is Etsy’s policy to not allow the sale of items “that promote or endorse harmful misinformation,” products that include “misinformation that endangers a member’s or the public’s health or safety” or items that promote “anti-vaccine claims.”
  • But, as recently as June 2, Etsy was “hosting fake vaccination documents for sale on its website — along with merchandise spreading vaccine misinformation and anti-mask messages,” according to Media Matters.

On Monday, Little discovered that Amazon was allowing the sale of a 10-pack of vaccination cards that looked similar to the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cards. At the time, the package of fake vaccination records were going for $12.99.

  • “Following this report, it appears that Amazon has since removed the fraudulent vaccination cards,” she wrote on Twitter later in the day.
  • Amazon told Business Insider in an emailed statement: “We do not allow the products in question in our store. We have proactive measures in place to prevent prohibited products from being listed and we continuously monitor our store. In this case, we have removed the items and taken action on the bad actors involved in bypassing our controls.”

Insider reported it was relatively easy to find fake United Kingdom vaccine cards and had been able to successfully place orders for copies of the counterfeit vaccine records from digital printing services Vistaprint and Moo, too.

Using a fake coronavirus vaccination card is a federal crime

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned Americans that using fake proof of vaccination is not only dangerous to public health, but it’s also illegal.

  • ”By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime,” the FBI said in a March announcement.
  • The FBI warned, as media outlets have reported, that “fake vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, as well as e-commerce platforms and blogs.”