Schumer calls for federal crackdown on fake vaccine cards

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FDA To Authorize Vaccine Booster Shots, for Those With Weak Immune Systems.Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a third COVID-19 vaccine shot could happen as soon as Aug. 12.The emergency expansion applies to both two-dose vaccines administered in the U.S., .Pfizer and Moderna.The focus of the decision is for those who have received organ transplants, .though the authorization applies to anyone diagnosed with a weakened immune system.An estimated three percent of Americans live with the condition.The Biden administration has prioritized booster shots for vulnerable Americans.Once approved by the FDA, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee will then consider its efficacy.The CDC committee is scheduled to meet on Aug. 13.Typically, doctors wait for CDC endorsement before they act on FDA approval.Booster shots have already been administered to vulnerable citizens of several European nations.In addition to the decision about third shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.the FDA is likely to fully approve the Pfizer vaccine sometime in September.Guidance for vulnerable Americans who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose has yet to be released

NEW YORK — The Senate’s top Democrat says federal law enforcement officials need to crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards being sold online.

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s announcement Sunday comes after The Associated Press reported how people are cheating the system and buying counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards online, worrying officials at colleges and universities across the country that are requiring proof students received the vaccine to attend in-person classes.

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Schumer is demanding U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI team up with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services to launch a crackdown on the counterfeit cards and start a campaign to make clear that forging the cards could land people in federal prison.

He also wants the Justice Department to immediately prioritize cases involving fake vaccine cards and is pushing for Customs and Border Protection to work harder to find counterfeit cards being sent from overseas.

Federal agents have already seized thousands of fake vaccine cards this year. Customs and Border Protection officers working in Memphis seized another shipment earlier this week — sent from Shenzhen, China and headed to New Orleans — that contained dozens of fake cards, officials said.

The FBI had issued a joint statement with the Department of Health and Human Services in March urging people not to buy, create or sell fabricated vaccine cards. The unauthorized use of the seal of an official government agency is a federal crime that carries a possible fine and a up to five years in prison.