Fake Vaccine Passports Causing COVID-19 Pandemic Confusion
During 2021, a number of COVID-19 vaccination “passport” initiatives have launched that could make traveling during the pandemic become easier for consumers.
Since yellow fever vaccination certificates have been globally accepted for years, these digital COVID-19 vaccine passports should be widely accepted.
However, several US states have already said, not so fast.
As of April 9, 2021, the states of Texas, Florida, Georgia, and others have issued orders to confront this growing movement of vaccine passports.
In Texas, Governor Gregg Abbott’s Executive Order ‘prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place.’
‘Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information to go about their daily lives,’ continued Gov. Abbott’s press statement issued on April 6, 2021.
But, in the northeast, New York is proceeding to implement its Excelsior Pass program.
On March 26, 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass, a digital platform that confirms an individual's negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination.
Created by IBM, Excelsior Pass can generate a secure QR code, which participating businesses and consumer events can use to grant access, or not.
Unfortunately, fake vaccine passports are already being sold across the ‘dark web.’
The BBC reported on March 23, 2021, fake vaccination certificates can cost as little as $150 from online vendors.
To reduce these sales in the USA, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and others sent a letter to the CEO's of Twitter, eBay, and Shopify saying ‘The use of your platforms to disseminate the deceptive marketing and sales of fake vaccine cards is a threat to residents of our states.’
‘The undersigned attorneys general are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of the residents of our states. It has come to our attention that your platforms are being used to market and sell blank or fraudulently completed COVID vaccine cards bearing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo,’
This attorney general’s demand letter gave the digital platforms until April 9th to share their plans to limit fake vaccine certificate sales.
However, fake yellow fever vaccine certificates have been sold in countries such as Africa and Brazil for years.
The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, also known as the Yellow Card, is an official vaccination record created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005.
A thriving black market in Africa sells fake immunization cards says Dr. Integrity Mchechesi, who works with a technology firm to combat such forgery.
“We estimate that around 80% of yellow fever travel cards in Zimbabwe are counterfeit,” said Dr. Mchechesi, a co-founder of Vaxiglobal, a travel health consultancy.
It appears overcoming these ethical, technical, and legal challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic will become a heated public debate.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based vaccine news.
- Texas Executive Order GA-35
- Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of Excelsior Pass to Help Fast-Track Reopening of Businesses and Entertainment Venues Statewide
- Covid-19: Vaccines and vaccine passports being sold on darknet
- National Association of Attorneys General Letter
- Fighting fake immunization travel certificates with frontier technologies
- International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis