U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in Memphis, Tennessee, and other cities have seized thousands of fraudulent COVID-19 cards shipped from China, as announced by the federal agency on Aug. 13.
“This fiscal year to date, Memphis has made 121 seizures totaling 3,017 of these vaccination cards,” the CBP statement reads. “They are always from China.”
The cards were bound for other parts of the United States.
Another shipment, from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, was intercepted in New Orleans, the CBP said. That batch contained 51 blank vaccination cards, and was the “15th such shipment of the night,” according to the statement.
Shipments were described as greeting cards, “Use For-Greeting Card,” or “PAPER PAPER CARD.”
“The cards have blanks for the recipient’s name and birthdate, the vaccine maker, lot number, and date and place the shot was given, as well as the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] (CDC) logo in the upper right corner,” CBP said.
The cards were identified as fakes because they were not imported by a CDC or medical entity, and because the shipper had a history of fraudulent activity.
Some of the counterfeit cards have typos and incomplete words, especially in the Spanish spelling on the back.
Demand for fake vaccination credentials has jumped as authorities and institutions across the country increasingly require getting the jab.
New York City recently mandated vaccine passports for entry to certain businesses starting September, and many colleges are requiring vaccination for in-person classes.
While 60 percent of Americans — around 200 million people — have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Aug. 13, there are many who remain reluctant to get inoculated due to safety concerns, religious beliefs, and a desire for more transparency from health organizations.
Since the expedited rollout of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, there have been thousands of reports about alleged and sometimes deadly side effects. There is also a significant chance of contracting COVID-19 even when fully vaccinated, according to data released by authorities.
On Aug. 13, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients reminded Americans that it is illegal to counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards. This March, the FBI warned that the purchase, sale, or use of counter COVID-19 vaccination documents is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.