Health officials in Vancouver say they are aware of cases of people trying to pay vulnerable people in the city’s Downtown Eastside to get vaccinated so they can fraudulently obtain a passport for the vaccine. COVID-19.
The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority did not confirm the number of cases involved, but did confirm that at least a handful of people obtained fake BC vaccination cards through what it called “deplorable” behavior. “.
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The fraudulent activity was first reported by an online publication The Tyee, who quoted a DTES health worker whose patient told him they were paid $200 to get vaccinated for someone else.
Union Gospel Mission spokeswoman Nicole Mucci said fraudsters are taking advantage of the desperation of some people in the Downtown Eastside.
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“The reality is that for anyone suffering from addiction or homelessness, the opportunity to earn several hundred dollars is not a choice, it’s a survival tactic,” she said.
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News of the fraud also drew a stern rebuke from the province’s health minister on Thursday.
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“Regardless of the Criminal Code test, this is deceptive and fraudulent behavior on the DTES, presumably so people can get a vaccine card and, I don’t know, go to a restaurant,” said Adrian Dix.
“That seems pretty heinous behavior.”
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The most vulnerable people in the Downtown Eastside are particularly at risk from COVID-19 and are estimated to be four times more likely to have serious consequences from the virus.
As a result, health officials have reduced barriers to vaccination, including setting up pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the DTES and removing photo ID requirements, Global News a source familiar with the vaccination campaign.
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Vancouver Coastal Health said it has since put measures in place, including identity verification, to prevent similar attempts.
“Fraudulent vaccination records are removed from the provincial immunization registry and BC vaccination cards are revoked,” he said.
Health officials did not report the fraudulent cards to police, but said Thursday that future cases “may be forwarded to local law enforcement authorities for follow-up.”
Earlier this month, Edmonton police said they had opened an investigation into similar allegations in that city.
It came after an ER nurse said at least six patients had entered the hospital saying they had been paid to be vaccinated multiple times.
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