As vaccine mandates for employees and in public places become increasingly common, Axios/Ipsos polling finds 6% of Americans personally know someone who is unvaccinated and has a fake vaccine card—and here’s what we know about them.
A healthcare worker fills out information on Covid-19 Vaccination Record Cards in Blandon, ... [+] Pennsylvania, on April 14.
Income level may play a role in using a fake vaccine ID, according to the poll, with 8% of those earning at least $100,000 a year saying they were aware of a fake card holder versus 5% of those earning between $50,000 and $99,000 and 4% of those making less than $50,000 annually.
While polling has found Republicans are the least vaccinated demographic group, they’re equally as likely as Independents and Democrats to say they know someone with a fraudulent card (all 6%).
Despite a growing number of cities now requiring people to show proof of vaccination for places like restaurants and large events, there was virtually no difference between those who said they lived in urban areas (6%), suburbs (7%) or rural areas (5%) who know people who use the fake vaccine cards.
The unvaccinated were only slightly more likely than vaccinated people to know someone with a fake card (7% versus 6%, respectively), and those who reported going to a restaurant or seeing friends or family in the past week were 2% and 3% more likely to know someone with a fake vaccine card, respectively, than those who didn’t do those activities.
Respondents ages 18-29, 30-49 and 50-64 were all equally likely to know someone with fake cards (all 6%), versus 4% of those 65 and older.
The Axios/Ipsos poll was conducted between October 8 and December 13 among 5,102 U.S. adults, and the data is a combined sample of polling waves from the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index, in order to get a robust sample of respondents.
Whether rising vaccine mandates will lead more people to get fake vaccine cards. A growing number of cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston have imposed vaccination requirements for places like restaurants this week in light of the rapidly spreading omicron variant, and President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers is set to take effect January 4, assuming it’s upheld in court. Global cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies found fake vaccine card sales went up after Biden’s vaccine policy was first announced, and the Axios/Ipsos poll suggests vaccine mandates so far have a slight—if not statistically significant—impact on whether people reported knowledge of a fake card. Seven percent of 2,729 employed respondents polled said they knew someone with a fake vaccine card versus 6% of all respondents, and 8% of those whose employer requires vaccinations had knowledge of a fraudulent card versus 6% of people whose workplace doesn’t mandate the shots.
Fake vaccine cards have been a concern in light of rising vaccine mandates and continued vaccine hesitancy, with more than 25% of U.S. adults still not fully vaccinated. Sellers have distributed fraudulent cards through both under-the-radar methods like encrypted messaging apps and major platforms like eBay, leading the Justice Department to establish a Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May to prosecute pandemic-related crimes like providing fake vaccination proof. The DOJ has already arrested multiple people for allegedly selling fake cards, as have local law enforcement authorities, and the FBI warned in March that both making and buying fraudulent vaccine cards is a violation of federal law. Among those who have been accused of providing fake proof of vaccination are two high-ranking New York City police officers, who are now under investigation by the New York Police Department, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown, whose former personal chef accused the player of giving the football team a fake vaccine card in November. (Brown’s lawyer has denied the accusation and the Buccaneers said it found “no irregularities” with his vaccine proof.)
Fake Vaccine Card Sales Have Skyrocketed Since Biden Mandate (Pew Research Trust)
Fake Vaccine Cards On The Rise: CVS Employee Arrested For Stealing Them (Forbes)
Searches For Fake Covid Vaccine Cards Spiked When The CDC Announced New Mask Guidance Based On An Honor System (Forbes)
Pharmacist Arrested For Selling Covid Vaccine Cards On eBay, Feds Say (Forbes)
‘They tell you what you want to hear’: people buying fake vaccine cards get scammed themselves (The Guardian)
Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus