'A critical time': Alberta's top doctor calls out individuals trying to use fake COVID-19 vaccine cards
It's been nearly a week since the Alberta government adopted an easy-to-use tool to produce a printable proof of vaccination card, but the project has been criticized by many as being flawed and easy to exploit.
The issues with the cards have now come to the attention of Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
She made note of several incidents that had been reported to the government of individuals attempting to use fraudulent cards.
"We are hearing reports of (people) trying to falsify proof of (COVID-19) vaccination records," she said on Twitter Friday.
"We are at a critical time and need (Albertans) to do all they can to help reduce strain on the health system. We need (people) to abide by current restrictions and not look for ways around the rules."
Hinshaw added that producing false records is not only "against the best interest of Albertans' health" but is an offence under the Criminal Code as well.
"Rather than risk potential consequences, get vaccinated. It's your best protection," she said. "I want to thank the majority of (Albertans) who continue to do the right thing, getting vaccinated and downloading their proof of vaccination."
On Sept. 18, the Alberta government unveiled a website where residents could access and print off a record of their COVID-19 vaccinations for use with the province's restriction exemption program.
Almost as soon as the tool came online, many residents noted how easily the cards could be doctored to include any entry for the name, date of birth and even any of the vaccination information listed on it.
The Alberta government responded to the criticism shortly afterwards, saying that "motivated individuals" could produce fraudulent cards, but did so in violation of the Health Information Act.
As of Friday afternoon, there is no change to the online system that produces the cards nor the format by which they are being delivered.