Dec 24, 2021 - Health

New York criminalizes fake COVID vaccination cards

  Now-Governor Kathy Hochul visits a state COVID-19 vaccination site in New York City  Tuesday, January 19

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Falsifying a COVID-19 vaccination card is now a crime in New York, punishable with a year's prison sentence if convicted of carrying one and up to four years for faking a health passport.

Why it matters: Proof-of-vaccination requirements in N.Y. and elsewhere have spurred a new market for counterfeit certificates.

  • The Manhattan District Attorney's office in August filed charges against 15 people who were allegedly involved in a fake vaccination card conspiracy.

By the numbers: Sean Ross Collins, a spokesperson for state Sen. Anna Kaplan, who co-sponsored the legislation, said in an emailed statement Thursday that criminal possession of a forged instrument is now "a Class A Misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison."

  • "Computer tampering is a Class E Felony which carries a sentence from 1 and 1/3 years to 4 years in prison," he added.

What they're saying: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said in a statement after signing the Truth in Vaccination" bill into law late Wednesday, "We need to make sure we learn the lessons of the pandemic so we don't make the same mistakes twice."

  • "These new laws will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road," Hochul added.
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