Fake vaccination cards are putting the lives of many Papua New Guineans at risk.
A warning has been issued from PNG national pandemic response controller David Manning against buying the illegal cards.
As the country continues to battle a surging number of Covid-19 cases in hospitals and health facilities, unvaccinated people with the cards gain access and privileges that others who are not protected against the virus don’t.
“To those selling the cards, you are playing with the lives of those who (people buying them),” Mr Manning told The National.
Most people are reportedly buying the fakes to save their jobs.
Further reports indicate that similar cards are being distributed and sold across the neighbouring Solomon Islands.
Manning also warned those buying the cards were putting themselves in danger of being infected with the Covid-19.
“Do not buy the fake green vaccination cards,” he said.
“While we are not forcing anyone to take the vaccine, lying about receiving the vaccine does not help you or your family.”
Genuine vaccination cards have a serial number given specifically to a vaccinated person, who is only registered and accessed on a database of the National Control Centre and the Department of Health.
The nation’s capital provincial health authority is reviewing the genuine cards to ensure they have an electronic bar code.
PNG health minister Jelta Wong last week announced that people caught selling fraudulent vaccination cards will be fined K500,000 ($US142, 477).
A man faced court for selling forged green vaccination cards in the nation’s second largest city Lae.
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Magistrate Pius Tapil told Allan Steven, 38, the business he was allegedly engaged in was so serious of a crime that he could face a “higher penalty” if he breached the national pandemic act.
According to The National report, Magistrate Tapil said this legal case was the first Covid-19-related charge “of this nature” to come before the court.
Steven was charged with forgery, uttering false documents and issuing the Covid-19 green vaccination cards to the public.
Police alleged Steven used a computer and a printer to do the scanning, and also the Buimo Health Centre’s official stamp and a signature of a medical officer on the cards.