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CDC vaccination cards. Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on Tuesday filed charges against 15 individuals who were allegedly involved in a fake COVID-19 vaccination card conspiracy, the New York County district attorney's office announced.

Driving the news: Jasmine Clifford, 31, who allegedly sold nearly 250 forged COVID-19 vaccination cards over Instagram, was charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, conspiracy in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree.

  • Clifford worked with Nadayza Barkley, 27, to wrongly enter at least 10 individuals into the New York State Immunization Information System database, prosecutors said.
  • Among the individuals who purchased the cards, 13 are believed to work in essential-employee settings, including hospitals. Those individuals were also charged, per the district attorney's office.

Between the lines: Clifford, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur with multiple online businesses, advertised forged COVID-19 vaccination cards through her Instagram account, @AntiVaxMomma, beginning in May, according Vance's office.

  • Clifford charged $200 for fake CDC vaccination cards, and for an additional $250 fee, Barkley would enter the individual’s name into the NYSIIS database as having received COVID-19 vaccinations, Vance's office said.

What they're saying: "We will continue to safeguard public health in New York with proactive investigations like these, but the stakes are too high to tackle fake vaccination cards with whack-a-mole prosecutions," Vance said.

  • “We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms," he added.

A Facebook spokesperson in an emailed statement said the company removed "Ms. Clifford’s account at the beginning of August for breaking our rules, and we will review any other accounts that might be doing the same thing."

  • "We prohibit anyone from buying or selling fake - or even genuine - COVID-19 vaccine cards," the spokesperson added.

Go deeper: Fake vaccine cards emerge in U.S., E.U. as vaccine mandates loom

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a comment from Facebook.

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty for Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

2 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.