Career & Finances | COVID-19 | Legal / Ethical

Fake Vaccine Cards: The Signs and Potential Consequences

  • Face vaccine cards are in circulation throughout the U.S. from not only civilians but those in the healthcare professions as well.
  • Despite citizens having the right to bodily autonomy and being given the choice to receive a vaccination, it is evident that the production, distribution, and possession of fake vaccine cards is a continuously growing and dangerous problem that must be addressed.  

  • Whether you are involved in the recruiting and interviewing process for new providers at your facility or working in triage, knowing the signs and understanding the consequences of fake vaccine cards is beneficial as we continue to navigate through this pandemic.  

NCC News & Content Team

December 10, 2021
Simmons University

As we emerge into the second full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, many societal changes have been made on a global scale; mask mandates, for example.  

Following, COVID-19 vaccination cards are now serving as an additional form of government identification and are commonly utilized when traveling abroad.  

However, fake vaccine cards are in circulation throughout the U.S. from not only civilians but those in the healthcare professions as well. 

Despite citizens having the right to bodily autonomy and being given the choice to receive a vaccination, it is evident that the production, distribution, and possession of fake vaccine cards is a continuously growing and dangerous problem that must be addressed.  

Whether you are involved in the recruiting and interviewing process for new providers at your facility or working in triage, knowing the signs and understanding the consequences of fake vaccine cards is beneficial as we continue to navigate through this pandemic.  

woman holding vaccine card

How to Spot Fake Vaccine Cards

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers various tips and key points to look for when assessing the validity of a COVID-19 vaccination card. These include: 

  • What is the material of the card – is it thin (like copy paper)? 
  • Are there misspellings in CDC copy? 
  • Are there inconsistencies in the dates of the vaccinations? Are they about 21 days apart? 
  • Does the card have an inconsistent shape – has it been hand-cut with scissors? 
  • Is the text on the card handwritten, printed, or both? 
  • Is there missing information (CDC copy, manufacturer numbers, vaccine provider, etc.)? 

Although these are not all the indicators of a potentially fake vaccine card, these are a few of the most common.  

If you are involved in the hiring processes at your workplace, please keep in mind that you should always validate the information on the vaccination card with the information located on other documents.  

Additionally, Business Insider claims that a common identifier of fake vaccine cards is when the manufacturer’s lot number for the administered vaccine is the same for both vaccinations; this should never be the case.

What Are the Consequences of Fake Vaccine Cards? Could I Lose My Job?

Much like the production, possession, and alteration of fake driver’s licenses, the consequences are far worse for fake vaccine cards.  

For example, if one is in possession of a fake driver’s license, the punishment is usually labeled as a misdemeanor, and the guilty party will pay a fine. However, the consequences for fake vaccine cards are far worse.  

“What exactly do you mean by this? What happens?” 

As the pandemic progresses, more news stories regarding the utilization of fake vaccine cards for traveling, employment (if vaccinations are required upon hiring), and entry into private businesses are receiving national coverage. Check out this example from CNN: 

Tammy McDonald, a South Carolina nurse, was recently charged with producing and distributing fraudulent identification (vaccine) documents as well as lying to federal investigators regarding the matter; she is now facing up to 35 years in prison. 

 Although more information is not available at this time, it is safe to assume that the South Carolina Board of Nursing will be revoking her nursing license.  

Not only do the production, distribution, and possession of fake vaccine cards violate an individual state’s laws, it can also be a federal offense due to the CDC being a federal agency.  

nurse giving patient covid-19 vaccine

The Bottom Line

If you are a resident of the U.S., you have the right to bodily autonomy and in most cases, there are various employment opportunities that do not require any proof of vaccination.  

We strongly recommend that you do not seek, produce, or distribute fake vaccine cards – it is not only a danger to those around you, but it could cost you your career and so much more.  

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