Falsifying vaccination card now a crime with possible 1-year jail sentence in NY

Originally published in The Hill on December 23, 2021.

New legislation has made falsifying a COVID-19 vaccination card a crime punishable with one year in jail in the state of New York.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) late Wednesday signed a law dubbed the "Truth in Vaccination" law, which makes faking a vaccination card a class A misdemeanor and tampering with computer records related to vaccinations a class E felony.

Under the law, New Yorkers convicted of falsifying a vaccination card could face up to one year in prison or three years of probation, 4 reportedNBC. Class E felonies, meanwhile, can be punished with up to four years in prison.

"We need to make sure we learn the lessons of the pandemic so we don't make the same mistakes twice," Hochul said in a statement. 

"These new laws will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road," the statement continued. 

Hochul added that individuals who misrepresent their vaccination history "not only jeopardize their own health, but the health of all those they come into contact with."

Her office stressed that this legislation ensures that as businesses rely more on checking vaccination status, "the falsification of vaccination records will not be tolerated.​"

"The 'Truth in Vaccination' law will serve as a strong deterrent to prevent people from lying about their vaccination status, protecting public health, and ensuring our economic recovery can move forward," New York state senator Anna M. Kaplan (D) said in a statement.

New York currently requires proof of vaccination for workers and customers who want to participate in indoor activities including dining in restaurants, working out in gyms and attending theater performances.

Earlier this month, a federal grand jury in Columbia, S.C., indicted a 53-year-old nurse in connection with the production of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards.

New York broke its single daily record for positive coronavirus cases for the fourth straight day on Sunday as the state grapples with the spread of the new omicron variant.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is urging the Biden administration to send help to the city amid a rise in omicron cases.

During a news conference on Sunday, de Blasio said “we need help now,” while specifically asking for more support regarding monoclonal antibody treatments.