New bill makes it a crime to forge, alter vaccination records

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office
New Yorkers receive COVID-19 vaccines at New York State Vaccination Site at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on Feb. 10, 2021.

With widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 on the horizon, one state lawmaker is anticipating that some may alter or counterfeit inoculation records, and has drafted legislation to make that a crime.

Sen. Anna Kaplan introduced bill S.4516 on Feb. 5 which prohibits medical and non-medical professionals from creating dishonest and counterfeited documentation of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The “Truth in Vaccination” bill is aimed at deterring individuals from lying about vaccination status and prevent medical professionals from falsifying COVID-19 vaccination records.

If found guilty of counterfeiting COVID-19 vaccine documentation, nonmedical professionals would be charged with a class A misdemeanor, while medical professionals would be charged with a class E felony.

It is anticipated that as more New Yorkers are vaccinated, sports and entertainment venues, restaurants and other businesses may require proof of vaccination.

Sen. Anna Kaplan, sponsor of the Truth in Vaccination bill. Photo courtesy of Senate Media Services.

“As governments and businesses work to find solutions to ease pandemic era restrictions while keeping people safe, vaccination cards and digital vaccination passports are set to become an important tool to allow people to ease back into normal life and get our economy back on track,” said Kaplan, D-Great Neck. 

“If we are going to be relying on these records as a tool to help mitigate risk of community spread and create safe, COVID-free environments, it’s absolutely critical that we ensure the information on them is accurate, and that bad actors aren’t trying to game the system with counterfeit cards or apps.”

The bill is currently in the Senate Health Committee. There are no Senate co-sponsors and there is no Assembly version.