Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 44 other states last week in an effort to curb the sale of fraudulent vaccination cards online.
Nessel signed an April 1 letter from attorneys general across the country that was sent to Shopify, Twitter and eBay asking them to monitor and remove ads or links that sell blank or fraudulently completed vaccination cards. The websites are also asked to keep records of the advertisements for possible future prosecution.
“We are deeply concerned about this use of your platforms to spread false and misleading information about COVID vaccines,” the letter read. “The false and misleading marketing and sale of fake COVID vaccine cards threatens the health of our communities, slows progress to protect our residents from the virus, and is a violation of many state laws.”
Law enforcement officials are requesting a formal response from the websites before April 9 and a remote virtual meeting to discuss the issue further.
Attorneys general from 45 states, territories, commonwealths and Washington DC have come together to send the letter. The websites sent to the letter were identified by the attorneys general of North Carolina and Tennessee as those used to market fraudulent or blank vaccine cards with the logo of the Centers for Disease Control, according to Kelly Rossman-McKinney. , AG office spokesperson.
Driving the demand for fraudulent cards are advertisements from certain international destinations, cruise lines, and some locations that may require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to entry.
“These cards look legitimate, but they are the opposite,” Nessel said. “By selling these fake vaccine cards, bad actors are undermining public safety and prolonging this pandemic.”
Fake cards mimic legitimate cards issued by healthcare providers and are sometimes left blank for the buyer to complete, according to the attorney general’s office.
A Tuesday afternoon search for “blank vaccine card” on eBay turned up no clear offers for counterfeit vaccination cards, but mostly card holders or protectors.
Michigan began vaccinating all residents age 16 and older on Monday, April 5. As of Sunday, April 4, health officials reported having administered more than 4.7 million doses. About 36.5% of Michigan residents age 16 and older had received their first dose and 23% had completed all doses, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Michigan consumers can file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office online or by calling 877-765-8388.
Plus: Nearly 3 Million Michigans Have Received First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine