Dozens of New York City Department of Sanitation workers have been suspended as part of a probe into fake vaccine cards.
Counterfeit vaccine cards have become a big business on the black market as people attempt to take control of their own healthcare and circumvent mandates.
A city official told ABC 7 that the workers who are alleged to have used fake cards have been suspended without pay.
“(The Department of Investigations) is aware of allegations involving the issuance of bogus vaccination cards and declines further comment,” spokesperson Diane Struzzi said.
The workers were busted after submitting CVS vaccine cards stating that they received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The cards raised red flags because the pharmacy stopped using that brand six months ago.
Sanitation Department spokesman Joshua Goodman told the station that the Department of Investigation is involved.
“We are actively investigating this situation, in coordination with our partners at the Department of Investigation,” he said. “These are very concerning allegations and we take them very seriously – getting vaccinated is important to public health, and we do not tolerate anyone faking something that is a requirement of city employment.”
There is currently another probe underway into Emergency Medical Service workers in New York City selling falsified vaccine cards.
At least one EMS lieutenant is being investigated, according to a report from the New York Daily News, but as many as 10 additional employees are believed to have been involved in the effort.
New York Magazine reports that drug dealers have also stepped into the business of counterfeit cards.
“Indeed, some of the fake cards are being provided by drug dealers. ‘Business is very, very good,’ said Alan, a counterfeit-card purveyor who also peddles weed and coke. ‘Too good. I need a vacation.’ I found him on a Facebook anti-vaccination group and he reluctantly agreed to meet over a frozen margarita at a kitschy Bushwick bar,” the New York Magazine report states.
The report says that the dealer was initially charging $150 per card and later upped the price to $250 as demand swelled.