A shipment of fake COVID-19 vaccine cards from China, headed for New Orleans, was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Memphis.
The blank cards, created to mimic those provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), were seized at the port of Memphis between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10 and originated from Shenzhen, China, as reported by FOX13.
Vaccine Cards Contained Spelling Errors, Typos
Authorities say there were more than a dozen such shipments of low-quality counterfeit vaccination cards, which included blank lines for names, personal information, lot numbers, vaccine manufacturer and even a CDC logo, but were riddled with typos, unfinished words, and errors in the Spanish verbiage on the back.
According to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers flagged a suspicious shipment coming from Shenzhen, China en route to the central business district of New Orleans. It was described in the manifest as "PAPER CARD, PAPER" and CBPOs said they already knew what it was because it was the 15th such shipment of the night.
Memphis has made 121 seizures totaling 3,017 of these vaccination cards this fiscal year. The cards, which have all come from China, come in packs of different amounts and there are never any attempts to conceal them, officials said. They are shipped all over the United States.
FBI Issues Warning
The FBI has warned that buying, selling, or using a counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination card is a crime. It can be categorized as the unauthorized use of an official government agency seal. Violators face a fine and up to five years in prison.
"These vaccinations are free and available everywhere," said Michael Neipert, Area Port Director of Memphis. "If you do not wish to receive a vaccine, that is your decision. But don't order a counterfeit, waste my officer's 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 just know that when you order a fake vaxx card, you are using my officers time as they also seize fentanyl and methamphetamines."