Will BC residents who pay people to get vaccinated go to jail?

People paid homeless people in Vancouver to get vaccinated for them

People who paid vulnerable people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to get vaccinated with their ID could face jail time, a criminal defense attorney said.

Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed with Vancouver is amazing Friday (Jan 14) that it is aware of cases of people fraudulently attempting to obtain BC vaccine cards by paying vulnerable individuals in the DTES to be vaccinated while falsely using their name and information.

“This behavior is deplorable and we are disappointed that someone would take advantage of vulnerable people in this way in an attempt to bypass the process of receiving a BC vaccine card,” VCH said in a statement.

Vancouver criminal defense attorney Kyla Lee tells VIA that either party involved in obtaining a fraudulent vaccine card could face charges.

“That’s fraud,” she said, noting that the unhoused person “could face serious charges”, although it probably wouldn’t be “in the public interest” for such charges to be prosecuted.

However, Lee noted that the person who paid to have someone get the vaccination, and in turn, proof of vaccination documents “could be charged”.

Lee added that she “wouldn’t be surprised” if the person who paid a vulnerable person was given a “short sharp jail term” given the exploitative aspect of the crime.

VCH has taken steps to “thwart these efforts”, and to ensure that anyone seeking a COVID-19 vaccine is eligible and that their identification is confirmed.

The health authority also removes fraudulent vaccination records from the Provincial Vaccination Register and revokes the associated BC vaccine cards.

In December 2021, Health Minister Adrian Dix stated that the province was investigating suspected vaccine records in the immune system registry system.

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