Is it illegal to use a fake vaccination card?



My name is Page Pate, and I’ve been practicing federal criminal law for over 25 years. I’ve been asked recently if it’s legal to use those fake vaccine cards that you can get off the internet. No, it is not legal. In fact, it can be a federal crime to possess or use any fake vaccination card that contains a symbol of a United States governmental agency. If somebody makes a card like that and uses one of those symbols, it can be Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, if they put those symbols on a card without proper authorization, then they have committed a federal crime, and it carries up to five years in prison. It’s 18 U.S.C. Section 1017.

But, you may be thinking, “Look, I’m not going to make the card. I’m just buying it off the internet. I’m going to use it so my kid can go to school, I can go back to work, I can get into a restaurant or some other public place.” It does not matter, because the law punishes not just the person who makes the card, the person who sells the card, but also anyone who takes that card knowing it’s false, knowing it’s a fake, and uses it for almost any other purpose. So be very careful. Buying a fake vaccination card can be a federal felony offense.

In some states, it can also be a state crime. If you take a vaccine card that’s a legitimate card, and you alter it in some way, so you add a second shot when you’ve only had one, or you change the dates. If you alter that card, that can be forgery, and that is also a felony offense under most state laws. So don’t order a fake vaccination card. It’s a bad idea, and it’s also against the law.