A 60-year-old man was arrested in Germany after he allegedly went to get the COVID-19 vaccine dozens of times in a scheme to sell forged vaccination cards with real vaccine batch numbers to people who did not want to get vaccinated themselves.
The unidentified man, a resident of the eastern German city of Magdeburg, had reportedly received as many as 90 vaccine doses at vaccination sites in the eastern state of Saxony over a period of six months, according to the Associated Press.
Police caught him when he showed up for a COVID-19 shot at a vaccination center in Ellenburg in Saxony for the second day in a row. Authorities discovered several blank vaccination cards in his possession and are reportedly investigating him for unauthorized issuance of vaccination cards and document forgery.
Reports have not indicated what impact the approximately 90 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different brands have had on the man's health.
Before Germany lifted most of its coronavirus restrictions last Friday, the country required COVID-19 passports or other proof of virus immunity to enter public spaces such as restaurants, theaters, swimming pools, or workplaces. German police have led several investigations cracking down on fraudulent vaccination documents in recent months, the AP reports.
Although Germany is following the lead of many of its European neighbors in loosening COVID-19 restrictions, critics say coronavirus infections in parts of the country are still too high to fully return to normal.
On Sunday, Germany reported 74,053 new COVID-19 infections in one day, and days earlier it reported 111,224 daily infections. Like many European countries, Germany experienced a surge in viral infections caused by the BA.2 Omicron subvariant — yet another coronavirus variant that is highly contagious but apparently less deadly than the original strain of the virus.
Opponents of ending restrictions also say that more Germans need to get vaccinated, even though 90% of people over 60 have competed the primary immunization schedule, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
German lawmakers have debated enacting a general vaccine mandate requiring everyone to take the shots, but the effort has little support, according to German news outlet DW.
There have also been crimes related to vaccine record forgery In the United States. In January, two New York nurses were charged with creating fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and entering falsified records into the state's database.
The two nurses from Long Island allegedly made more than $1.5 million from their scam by charging adults $220 and children $85 for fake vaccine records.