Culprits can face up to a year in prison.
It's a federal crime to make, sell or buy fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, and as of Wednesday, falsifying the cards is a state crime in New York as well.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Truth in Vaccination law, which makes faking vaccination cards a misdemeanor and tampering with vaccine-related computer records a felony, NBC New York reported. The legislation says that "a COVID Vaccination Card shall be considered a written instrument for purposes of the forgery statute," making falsification a crime punishable with up to a year in prison.
Fake COVID vaccination cards can be found online for hundreds of dollars, and there have been arrests made for using the fakes. By making falsification a state crime, New York can directly prosecute a culprit instead of letting federal law enforcement handle the case.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distributes COVID vaccine cards to vaccination providers, who in turn fill out cards for vaccinated individuals. There are also multiple smartphone apps for proving vaccination status without having to take a physical card with you.
In the US, just over 77% of people over the age of five have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination, according to the CDC. Earlier this week, amid a surge in cases driven by the omicron variant, President Joe Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated, including booster shots, calling it a "patriotic duty."