Fake Covid-19 Vaccination Cards: How It Could Land You In Jail

May 18, 2021

By Jill K. Sanders, Esq.

Many people are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus (covid-19). However, those in law enforcement have warned about the uptick in people producing or possessing fake vaccination cards. Read our blog to learn how fake vaccination cards can lead to criminal charges.


Possessing Fake Vaccination Cards 

For various reasons, there are some who are choosing not to get the covid-19 vaccine. Yet some employers, schools, and other organizations are requiring people who visit their buildings to get the covid-19 vaccine.

As such, people have been buying fake vaccination cards. Such imitation cards are easily reproduced. The real card has simple text in black along with two logos (Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Health & Human Services) that can be found on the Internet. And it’s printed on readily-available white card stock.

For those who don’t want to get the vaccine, they may think fake vaccination cards are no big deal. But in the state of New York, this could lead to big trouble. Someone can be charged just for possessing a fake card. Indeed, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree is a class D felony punishable by state prison. The FBI has further warned that possessing fake vaccination cards could be a federal crime.

Additionally, if the person made the card themselves, this could be considered forgery. And if you put fake info on the card, this could be falsifying records. A person could also be charged with a larceny if he/she steals a real card.


Production of Fake Vaccination Cards

Law enforcement will likely focus its efforts on the people who produce fake vaccination cards, or those who steal large numbers of real cards. These folks are usually making money off their schemes by selling fake or stolen cards. Additionally, they’re providing an easy way for people to lie about getting the covid-19 vaccine.

For those who steal large numbers of real cards, this would be considered a larceny. While the value of the cards is indeterminate, taking anything without permission is a larceny. The bigger issue will be those who make fake vaccination cards. This would be forgery and falsifying records. In addition to state criminal offenses, the FBI has warned that producing fake vaccination cards could be a federal crime. You cannot use a federal agency logo without permission.


What To Do With Your Real Vaccination Card

You should show your vaccination card to your health care providers. You may also need your card for travel, and vaccine passports are quickly being developed (including New York’s Excelsior Pass). In the meantime, here are some tips on keeping your card safe:

  1. Take a picture of the card with your phone and keep it in your photos. That way, you can always keep it with you and pull it up if necessary.
  2. Don’t laminate your card. It has blank spaces to record future shots. Even if you’ve had the two-dose regiment, it’s possible you may need a booster shot in the future. Instead, keep it in a plastic sleeve, like the ones used for ID badges.
  3. Store your original card in a safe place, like where you keep your passport or birth certificate.

If you lose your card, contact the location where you got your shot. They have a record of everyone vaccinated there. They also file your records with your state’s immunization registry. For New York residents, contact the following if you’ve lost your card:



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