Signal verdict! German Court imposes first prison sentence on vaccination certificate forgers
Vaccination certificate forgers: For the first time, a court has imposed a prison sentence on a vaccination certificate forger. In Rhineland-Palatinate, a father received a three-month suspended sentence.
- Restrictions in Germany are driving the market for forged vaccination certificates
- More than 12,000 suspected cases nationwide
- Judgment has a double signal effect: pharmacists’ associations welcome the step
- Judgment shows: Pharmacies are allowed to break confidentiality if they suspect a vaccination card has been falsified
Restrictions in Germany are driving the market for forged vaccination certificates
According to politicians and virologists in this country, the only way out of the coronavirus pandemic is through vaccination. The vaccination gap in Germany is still too big. Especially in vulnerable groups, more people should be vaccinated.
▶ The rules are strict: Those who are not vaccinated can hardly participate in social life. But because many want to continue doing this without vaccination, they get a fake vaccination card. In the worst case, this can end up in prison. Now, for the first time, a German court has sentenced a father to imprisonment for forging a vaccination card.
More than 12,000 suspected cases nationwide
Nationwide, the police authorities counted more than 12,000 suspected cases of forged vaccination documents by mid-January. It is estimated that around half of these were discovered in pharmacies. Those who are caught with a fake vaccination card are now threatened with high penalties.
More restrictions more fakes
The Saxon State Criminal Police Office said it was assumed that there was a large number of unreported cases. It is determined “consistently in every suspected case”. An internal situation report by the Federal Ministry of the Interior assumes that the demand for fake vaccination cards will “level out at a higher level” due to the tightened corona measures.
Easy to fake due to missing security features in vaccination cards
It is also conceded that the vaccination certificates are “easily forged” because they contain “no security features”. The “lack of test approaches” to discover counterfeits when creating digital vaccination certificates are also problematic. For about a week, pharmacies have been able to use a server to check whether the batch number mentioned in the vaccination card has been issued and vaccinated.
Judgment has a double signal effect: pharmacists’ associations welcome the step
It is the first time that a prison sentence has been imposed in Germany for falsifying vaccination cards. The verdict could have a signal effect. Falsifying vaccination documents has been a criminal offense since November 2021 and can be punished with up to several years in prison.
It is a judgment that also includes the participation of the pharmacies. These are usually bound by confidentiality. However, the judgment classified the complaint against the customer who came to the pharmacy with a fake vaccination certificate as legal and could set a precedent for the future.
The German Pharmacist Associations (ABDA) welcomed the verdict. The President of the Federal Association, Regina Overwiening, said”: “It gives the pharmacies more security.”
Judgment shows: Pharmacies are allowed to break confidentiality if they suspect a vaccination card has been falsified
The judgment itself will not only prevent people from using fake vaccination cards in the future. It gives pharmacists the right to break their confidentiality. The “permanent danger” of counterfeit vaccination certificates entitles the pharmacists to report them. And further: “The judge was one of the first to apply paragraph 34 in this context”.
▶ The judgment could also give pharmacists in Germany more security to notify the police if they have the slightest doubt about the authenticity of the vaccination certificates.