A Chicago pharmacist who allegedly sold genuine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination cards on eBay was arrested, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Tangtang Zhao, 34, allegedly sold 125 cards to 11 different purchasers in March and April. He is charged with 12 counts of theft of government property.
An indictment listed an approximate sum paid for multiple batches of cards — for instance, there were multiple 10-card batches listed with amounts paid ranging from $88.03 up to $117.40.
"Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death," Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. of the FBI's Chicago Field Office said in a statement. "To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences."
"We take seriously, and will vigorously investigate, any criminal offense that contributes to the distrust around vaccines and vaccination status," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement. "The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from these offenses during this national emergency."
So far 59.5% of the U.S. population 12 and older has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 70.1% has received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
While many in the U.S. have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, various government entities and businesses have announced vaccine requirements.
For example, beginning Tuesday people in New York City must prove that they've received at least one vaccine dose in order to engage in activities like dining indoors at restaurants, patronizing indoor movie theaters and more.
The Associated Press reported that while the rules went into effect Tuesday, New York City will not start fining non-compliant businesses until Sept. 13.