Two powerful Union County senators introduced a bill that would enact criminal penalties for individuals who produce, sell and use fake COVID-19 vaccination cards.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, New Jersey has recognized the seriousness of COVID-19. As the number of vaccinated citizens continues to rise, it is imperative that we have a plan in place to appropriately address potential bad actors who may attempt to deceive others with a fake COVID-19 vaccination verification card,” said State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden).
It wasn’t immediately clear what penalties the bill would impose. Its text was not yet posted online, though it would also require the state attorney general create a fraud prevention program focused on COVID-19 vaccines.
“The COVID-19 vaccination verification card provides proof that you have a level of protection against the virus,” said State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union). “As New Jersey continues to remove restrictions and reopen, this card will be an important tool, and we must work to prevent counterfeit cards from impeding upon the progress we have made.”
New Jersey has not adopted vaccine passports, though Gov. Phil Murphy has said he was willing to consider the adopting their use if it was supported by federal health authorities at the Centers for Disease Control.
That push, should it ever come, would likely meet with opposition from Republican lawmakers, who have already introduced a bill seeking to bar the government and private businesses from seeking to ascertain whether an individual has been vaccinated.