You’ve definitely heard of this possibility, and you may even have been offered this service. If among those who “bought” a certificate of full vaccination against coronavirus are your friends or relatives — show them this material.

In brief, you cannot buy a certificate because this is domestic corruption, which causes danger to buyers and other people.

 

Not in brief

Forgery of such a document entails criminal liability under Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. An offense will be both the production of a fake certificate and the use of such a document, the falsity of which was known in advance.

What can be the liability for production of certificates:

  • fine up to UAH 17,000;
  • arrest for up to 6 months;
  • restriction of freedom for up to 2 years.

For repeated commission of such an offense, you can face restriction or imprisonment for up to 5 years.

For those who use a fake certificate (and know about it), liability is provided in the form of a fine of UAH 850 or arrest for up to 6 months or restriction of freedom for up to 2 years.

Ihor Kuzin, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine, stated that more than 30 similar criminal proceedings have already been opened in Ukraine.

By the way, now, the Parliament is waiting for consideration of a draft law that envisages strengthening criminal liability for forgery of vaccination documents; it has already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Where is corruption here?

Health workers who enter false information about vaccination in the databases have access to perform such actions, and therefore abuse their position and opportunities for their benefit. And this is corruption.

The penalty for such actions is a fine from UAH 34,000 to UAH 68,000 or corrective work for up to two years. If this was done repeatedly, the responsible person (health worker) faces imprisonment for a term of 3 to 6 years, with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activity for up to 3 years.

“The case of forgery of certificates is, of course, not the case of the HACC on high-profile corruption. Do not think that corruption is just about the crimes of high-ranking officials. Every doctor who sells a fake certificate, in fact, repeats the actions of a dishonest MP. And together, these cases of seemingly minor domestic corruption create a global corruption background for the whole country. If we also remember that fake certificates threaten the lives of thousands of Ukrainians, such corruption no longer seems ‘petty’,” comments on the forgery of certificates Oleksandr Kalitenko, TI Ukraine’s legal advisor.

 

How does it work?

Recently, journalists have conducted an experiment by buying a certificate and thus exposing the work of “black vaccinators.” Those interested are offered to receive a paper “document” with a QR code and then to have the information about vaccinations entered in electronic registers, such as Helsi and Diia.

Customers are offered different vaccines, and the time frame for making fake certificates also varies. Prices for such certificates vary — from UAH 1,800 to more than UAH 6,000.

 

Why is it dangerous?

First of all, fake vaccination makes such clients dangerous to society because they are not fully protected, but they can visit institutions, cross borders — in general, lead the life of a vaccinated person without being immune to COVID. Consequently, buyers of fake certificates can get sick, carry the disease, and infect others without even knowing it.

This is wrong, dangerous, irresponsible, cruel, selfish, and many other things. You probably already understand this.

The situation is complicated by the fact that now Ukraine is at the peak of COVID incidence with the highest number of deaths every day since the beginning of the pandemic. And this trend may last until the end of the year.

Secondly, simulating vaccination, you cannot get the vaccine for real later. After all, the vaccination record is entered in the database, and you will no longer be able to get vaccinated during its validity period (one year). But if the certificate is only paper and there is no record of vaccinations in the database of the Ministry of Health, it will still be possible to get vaccinated.

So, the purchase of COVID certificates is quite dangerous not only from the point of view of the safety of citizens, but also in relation to the assumed liability. It is a shame that this phenomenon is a direct consequence of the public sentiment, under which dishonest health workers have come up with various schemes that expose Ukrainians to danger, and themselves — to quite justified accusations of corruption.

Do not buy fake COVID certificates, do not tolerate such actions among your environment, but instead spread verified vaccination information and try to convince the unvaccinated of the need for vaccination.

Do not think that corruption is just about the crimes of high-ranking officials. Every doctor who sells a fake certificate, in fact, repeats the actions of a dishonest MP. And together, these cases of seemingly minor domestic corruption create a global corruption background for the whole country.

Oleksandr Kalitenko, TI Ukraine’s legal advisor