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Pharmacist sold COVID-19 vaccination cards online, prosecutors allege

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A pharmacist in Chicago was arrested after he allegedly sold dozens of authentic COVID-19 vaccine cards on eBay, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Tangtang Zhao, 34, allegedly sold 125 authentic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine cards for about $10 per card. Zhao reportedly sold the cards to 11 different buyers.

“Knowingly selling COVID vaccination cards to unvaccinated individuals puts millions of Americans at risk of serious injury or death,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. said in the statement. “To put such a small price on the safety of our nation is not only an insult to those who are doing their part in the fight to stop COVID-19, but a federal crime with serious consequences.”

Zhao, who was a licensed pharmacist, obtained the cards at his workplace, which distributed and administered COVID-19 vaccines at its locations nationwide. As a result, he has been charged with 12 counts of government theft of property.

“Stealing and selling COVID-19 vaccination cards is inexcusable and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Fraudsters who engage in such unlawful conduct undermine efforts to address the pandemic and profit at the public’s expense. The health and safety of the public is our top priority, and we encourage people to obtain vaccination cards from their administering medical providers.” 

The case is still under investigation; however, if convicted, Zhao faces about 120 years in prison, or 10 years per count. 

“We take seriously, and will vigorously investigate, any criminal offense that contributes to the distrust around vaccines and vaccination status,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s criminal division said in the statement. “The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the American people from these offenses during this national emergency.”

Tags Chicago COVID-19 vaccine fake vaccine cards vaccine passports

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