Aug 06, 2021 News
– says efforts afoot to digitise system
Kaieteur News – In wake of concerns over the possible forgery and selling of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has said that his Ministry is working on a system to generate digital versions of the COVID-19 vaccination card.
During Wednesday’s COVID-19 update, the Health Minister told the media that digital document and a corresponding digital database would help ease the concerns about possible forged documents, as well as help give persons easier access to show proof of vaccination when visiting businesses and government ministries and agencies.
While Dr. Anthony gave no definitive timeline for the completion and release of a digital card, he noted that employees of the Ministry are in the process of creating electronic copies of the cards as part of the first step towards digitising the system.
“We are digitalising our records right now, and we have a few options that we are looking at right now on how we can do this,” Dr. Anthony said, emphasising that the new system would be calibrated in a way to detect cases of forgery, given that there have been reports of persons attempting to forge the cards and corrupt the process.
“We have had reports of persons who are forging the card, and if we find anyone forging the card they will face the law, because we have a law that deals with forgery…In Section 240 of our criminal law, our Criminal Offences Act, Chapter 8:01, forgery is an offence and you can be prosecuted for forgery.….If you didn’t get vaccinated, why would you get a card to say that you’re vaccinated? The vaccines are free. It’s there, go get it,” Minister Anthony said.
Dr. Anthony noted that persons found in possession of bogus documents would face imprisonment.
“The fine, if you’re found guilty of forgery, would be up to three years imprisonment. If you forge a vaccination card, then you will be liable to this type of punishment, if caught. So, I want to encourage people to desist from such practices because when we catch you, you are going to feel the full brunt of the law,” the Health Minister said, adding that persons who have purchased counterfeit documents would also be put before the court.
He stressed: “The people who were buying the vaccination card, if there’s such actions that are currently ongoing, I just want to warn people that this is an offence, and we will be taking very stern measures against anyone who’s trying to do this.”
The Minister ‘s comments followed the recently published gazetted COVID-19 measures for August which stipulate, that vaccination booklets are to be presented when visiting government agencies, restaurants and cinemas.
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