Hundreds of Fake Vaccine Cards Seized at US/Canada Border

Carolyn Crist

December 13, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Border officials in Canada and the US have seized hundreds of fake vaccine cards and COVID-19 tests.

Although the Canada Border Services Agency has reported more than 300 fraudulent cards and tests, only a small number of people have faced consequences, The Toronto Star reported. The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued 17 fines related to the reports so far.

In the US, a woman was caught by American border guards with her sister's passport and proof of COVID-19 vaccination as she was trying to enter the US from Canada, according to The Star. She hasn't been charged, US Customs and Border Protection told the newspaper.

Law experts told The Star that using forged or false documents when trying to cross the border is a serious offense with extensive penalties, which could include possible jail time, travel bans, and thousands of dollars in fines.

At the same time, citizens have right of entry. That means those who show fake COVID-19 records are still allowed into the country. But border officials then pass the traveler's information to the Public Health Agency of Canada, which can investigate and issue fines.

Health experts have voiced concerns about what the fraudulent records could mean for the pandemic, particularly as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

"I do wonder what percentage that segment represents of the total number of people who are coming in without being vaccinated and/or tested," Lorian Hardcastle, a health policy expert at the University of Calgary, told CBC.

"We need to keep these enforcement efforts up and make sure that we are weeding out as many fraudulent and falsified records as possible," she said.

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