WASHINGTON — Is it illegal to use a fake vaccine card? With vaccine requirements becoming more common, that card you get with the shot has become a golden ticket.
Obviously, forging a vaccine card is a bad idea and it can put people at risk. Our research shows it’s illegal and, depending on your involvement, can carry different penalties.
Is using a fake vaccine card illegal?
Yes, all our experts agreed that making, using, or selling fake vaccine cards is illegal.
WHAT WE FOUND:
Back in March, the FBI sent out this PSA. It explained falsifying a government seal is a federal crime. The vaccine cards have two seals. In the corner of the card, there are the CDC and HHS seals.
Forging those is a felony under Title 18 of the US Code, Section 10-17. That violation could carry a fine and a maximum of 5 years in prison.
However, attorney Jon Sheldon told us 5 years is unlikely in this case and sentencing will depend on severity.
For example, Sheldon said using a fake card to go to a bar isn't the same as selling thousands of fake cards. While the max penalty is 5 years, Sheldon said the lightest penalty, probation, is more likely.
At the same time, in some cases you may be breaking state law too; depending on where you are. In June, New York made it a class E felony to falsify vaccination records. In Washington D.C., the Attorney General’s Office told us this would be a violation of the District’s forgery law. Those offenses also carry a threat of jail time.
We can verify, yes. Making, using, or selling fake vaccine cards is a federal felony. But sentencing will vary case by case.