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Federal agents seize over 1500 fake COVID-19 vaccine cards

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized more fake COVID-19 vaccination cards last week, the latest seizure in a city where the agency says thousands of counterfeit cards have been found across the country this year.

The agency said in a statement that officers found a suspicious shipment shipped from Shenzhen, China, on its way to the central business district of New Orleans. The shipment’s manifest read “PAPER CARD, PAPER” and officers, “already knew what it was.” Inside, they found 51 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards.

“The cards have blanks for the recipient’s name and birthdate, the vaccine maker, lot number, and the date and place the shot was given, as well as the Centers for Disease Control logo in the upper right corner. However, there were typos, unfinished words, and some of the Spanish verbiages on the back was misspelled,” the agency’s press release stated.

In March, the FBI said selling, buying or using fake vaccine cards is illegal. However, federal customs agents say the fake cards have been seized all throughout the country.

“If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don’t order a counterfeit, waste my officer’s time, break the law and misrepresent yourself. CBP Officers at the Area Port of Memphis remain committed to stopping counterfeit smuggling and helping to protect our communities,” Country Sherrif said.

Schools and universities across the country are requiring students to prove they were vaccinated against COVID-19, worrying some officials that students may submit fake cards. Some schools have said submitting false vaccine records could result in disciplinary actions, including expulsion.

In July, Juli Mazi, a naturopathic physician in California, was arrested and charged for selling fake COVID-19 treatments and fraudulent vaccine cards, according to the Department of Justice. The department said it was the first federal criminal fraud prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards.