Kaplan-backed ‘truth in vaccination’ bill passes state Senate

Rose Weldon
A bill making falsifying COVID-19 vaccination records a crime, backed by State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) has passed in the State Senate. (Photo by Janelle Clausen))

The New York State Senate passed legislation co-written by state Sen. Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) that would make the falsification of COVID-19 vaccination records illegal. The measure now moves to the state Assembly.

Partially prompted by an incident in which a Levittown man was charged with stealing blank vaccination cards from his job at a CVS and planning to sell them to unvaccinated friends, it is the latest move in the state’s effort to ensure that as many New Yorkers are vaccinated as possible.

The bill would make it a crime to create a fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination card by amending the legal definition of a “written instrument” to explicitly include a card provided to a person by a vaccine provider indicating the date the person received the shot against COVID-19 as well as the type of vaccine and its lot number.

In addition to paper proof, the bill would make it illegal to make a fraudulent COVID-19 Vaccination Passport by amending the penal law to create a crime of intentionally altering computer material to indicate that a person received a vaccination against COVID-19.

“We’re using vaccine cards and passports to make everything safer from baseball to Broadway, but the system relies on individuals being truthful about their vaccination status in order to keep everyone safe,” Kaplan said in a statement. “We’re already seeing anti-vaxxers spread tips online for how to create fake cards in order to get around vaccination mandates, and we need to put a stop to this effort to defraud the public so that our recovery from the pandemic can keep moving forward.”

The bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 47-16 and now goes to the state Assembly for consideration, where it will be introduced by the legislation’s co-writer, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-Albany).

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