People who paid vulnerable individuals on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to get vaccinated using their identification could face jail time, according to a criminal lawyer.
Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed with Vancouver Is Awesome Friday (Jan. 14) that it is aware of instances of people attempting to obtain BC vaccine cards fraudulently by paying vulnerable individuals in the DTES to be vaccinated while falsely using their name and information.
"This behaviour is deplorable and we’re disappointed that anyone would take advantage of vulnerable people in this way in an attempt to circumvent the process for receiving a BC Vaccine Card," VCH said in a statement.
Vancouver criminal lawyer Kyla Lee tells V.I.A. that both parties involved in obtaining a fraudulent vaccine card could face charges.
"That is fraud," she said, noting that the unhoused person could "face a serious charge," though it likely would not be "in the public interest" for such charges to be pursued.
However, Lee remarked, the person who paid to have someone obtain the vaccination, and, in turn, the proof of vaccination documents "could be charged."
Lee added she "wouldn't be surprised" if the person who paid a vulnerable individual received a "short sharp jail sentence" given the exploitative aspect of the crime.
VCH has put in measures to "thwart these attempts," as well as to ensure anyone seeking a COVID-19 vaccine is eligible and their identification is confirmed.
The health authority is also removing fraudulent vaccination records from the Provincial Immunization Registry and revoking B.C. vaccine cards associated with them.
In December 2021, Health Minister Adrian Dix stated that the province was looking into suspicious vaccine records in the immune registry system.