Just Stop Buying Fake COVID Vaccine Cards

U.S. Customs and Border Protection would like you to stop ordering fake COVID vaccine cards from China.
​Fake COVID vaccine cards from Shenzen, China are being seized by Customs officials in the U.S.
Fake COVID vaccine cards from Shenzen, China are being ei

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized thousands of counterfeit COVID vaccine cards shipped to the U.S. from China, and they’re not happy about it.

The latest influx arrived at the Memphis shipping hub late last week disguised as boxes of greeting cards and primarily coming from Shenzhen. 

To date, customs has seized 121 packages totaling more than 3,000 cards in Memphis, which is also the center of global shipping for FedEx.

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Buying, selling, or using these cards is illegal. Simply carrying one could land a person in jail for five years, according a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Furthermore, you’re really going to piss off Michael Neipert, area port director of Memphis.

“These vaccinations are free and available everywhere,” Neipert said in the statement. “If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don’t order a counterfeit, waste my officers’ time, break the law, and misrepresent yourself. CBP officers at the Area Port of Memphis remain committed to stopping counterfeit smuggling and helping to protect our communities.”

But Neipert wasn’t done.

He went on to further decry the fake vaccine cards, and said the shipments are frequent enough that they’re taking away resources and personnel from stopping deadly substances, like fentanyl and methamphetamines, from entering the country. 

“Just know that when you order a fake vaxx card, you are using my officers’ time as they also seize fentanyl and methamphetamines.”

“Just know that when you order a fake vaxx card, you are using my officers’ time, as they also seize fentanyl and methamphetamines,” Neipert said. 

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Fake COVID vaccine cards seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo: U.S Customs and Border Protection)

The fake cards come with it all: blanks for the recipient's name and date of birth, lot number, date their non-existent shot was delivered, and even a counterfeit CDC logo. But Shenzhen is still working out the kinks: Like a lot of counterfeit stuff, these cards are riddled with misspellings, unfinished words, and misspelled Spanish on the back. 

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Moreover, the cards are quickly identified as fake because they’re not being shipped by the CDC or any official agency. Instead, they’re being labeled as “Paper Greeting Cards/ Use For-Greeting Card” and “PAPER PAPER CARD,” according to the CBP.

All of these shipments are coming from China, and there’s no indication that they’ll be slowing down as the Delta variant continues to surge across the United States. 

CBP press officer Matthew Dyman said that the process of locating the printers responsible for these cards would be like finding a needle in a haystack, and that the legal process of working with an investigative liaison in the country would be next to impossible. 

“I think it would be very difficult to do any sort of investigation over there because we seize so many fake items from the country,” Dyman said. “It’s China; there’s not much you can do.”

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As the fake cards continue to circulate, colleges are starting to worry about students using them, as many are resuming class this fall, according to the Associated Press

Already, people have been arrested for using fake COVID vaccination cards, including a father and son who tried to enter Hawaii and bypass travel restrictions after traveling from California.

Last month, two travelers were attempting to leave the United States for Toronto using fake COVID IDs—they were caught, and both were fined nearly $16,000, according to the Washington Post