Demand for fake vaccination certificates increases along with large-scale COVID-19 vaccination

Mass vaccination of employees of the first risk group sent by employers has started in Tatarstan

Demand for fake vaccination certificates increases along with large-scale COVID-19 vaccination
Photo: kzn.ru

Large-scale coronavirus vaccination campaign has resumed in Tatarstan after the New Year holidays. On Monday, several polyclinics in Kazan did vaccinations against COVID-19 to federal and republican civil servants who were sent by employers. However, Kazan medical institutions have had a small supply of unused doses of Sputnik V vaccine since December, so those who were in no particular hurry to get vaccinated were “released”. Meanwhile, as Realnoe Vremya found out, in Kazan, after Moscow, a shadow business begins to flourish selling fake certificates of vaccinations against Covid-19. Kazan lawyers warn that the use of fake certificates threatens with a fine of at least 80,000 rubles.

Vaccination for civil servants

With the beginning of the new working week, large medical institutions in Kazan have returned to vaccinating employees of the first risk group. These include doctors, teachers, social workers and civil servants, as well as transport workers and trade representatives. In short, everyone who is in daily contact with an unlimited circle of people.

According to Realnoe Vremya, on New Year's eve, medical clinics received lists of all those who must undergo mandatory vaccination against coronavirus. Based on this, a schedule was created for employees to receive free vaccination from COVID-19 at the request of employers.

Of course, each of the employees must give their voluntary consent to the vaccination. Under this scheme, according to sources of Realnoe Vremya, on 11 January, several polyclinics of Kazan did vaccinations against COVID-19 to federal and republican civil servants. According to sources, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V was used. However, doctors do not have the right to disclose other details of the first “vaccination” day this year: Kazan polyclinics are prohibited from independently commenting on this work to the press. For this reason, the heads of two large polyclinics in Kazan at once refused to answer the questions of Realnoe Vremya.

The directors of two large polyclinics in Kazan at once refused to answer the questions of Realnoe Vremya. Photo: yandex.ru

6k doses of vaccine for Tatarstan

As it is known, the mass vaccination campaign was launched in Tatarstan in early December last year. According to Realnoe Vremya, the republic received at that time about 6,000 doses of the antiviral vaccine Sputnik V, ahead of the rest of the Russian regions. They were distributed among all medical institutions.

Part of the doses were transferred for preventive vaccination of healthy workers in the first risk group. According to the press service of the ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan, more than 2,400 people have been vaccinated to date, about half of them are medical workers. More than 100 people received the second dose of the vaccine. Vaccination is free of charge. It is carried out in a polyclinic at the place of residence by appointment.

Realnoe Vremya managed to talk about the course of the vaccination campaign exclusively with the head of the epidemiological department of the City Hospital No. 7, Natalia Shaykhrazieva.

Almost 200 doses in December

The clinic received the first batch of 195 doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine for this purpose in late November-early December, the medic said.

“But already on December 30, the vaccine ran out because there were a lot of people who wanted to," said Natalia Shaykhrazieva. “Everyone is very eager and waiting for the resumption of vaccination. But if in the city polyclinic No. 10, doses remained, then we have nothing.” The call centre simply does not have time to answer the calls of those who want to.

According to her, the clinic does not leave calls without attention but forms a queue of those who want to. Now there are more than 100 people on the waiting list, Shaykhrazieva said.

The head of the epidemiological department of the City Clinical hospital No. 7 of Kazan admitted that the clinic is extremely economical in spending the vaccine. One ampoule, as the doctor explained, contains a volume sufficient to vaccinate 5 people at once. Therefore, a whole group is selected at once.

One ampoule, as the doctor explained, contains a volume sufficient to vaccinate 5 people at once. Therefore, a whole group is selected at once. Photo: sntat.ru

“Our pathologists were the first to be vaccinated”

In the first December wave, priority was given to medical workers.

“For example, our pathologists were the first to come. Then the nurses of surgical departments. Then the doctors and midwives of maternity hospitals. Those who are motivated, who have parents, children, and those who do not want to get sick, go themselves to be vaccinated," she named the first participants of vaccination.

Now the medical institution has compiled a large list of those who want to be vaccinated from the republican bodies — ministry of culture, ministry of youth affairs, ministry of sports. “These lists are a separate pile, they all want to be vaccinated," said Shayhraziev. If not for the shortage, they would have been vaccinated long ago, she said.

“They come with pleasure: they get antibody tests, a therapist's examination and a vaccine injection on the spot," says the head of the department. But there were no applications from large enterprises in this clinic: “Not so many vaccines were provided.”

No antibody tests from January

According to Shaykhrazieva, in December, the clinic received rapid tests for antibodies to Covid-19, so tests for the presence of immunoglobulin M or G were carried out before vaccination. The clinic has about 500 pieces of rapid tests. They show the result within 10 minutes.

However, the press service of the ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan stated that the requirement for mandatory antibody tests before vaccination has been cancelled this year. This was probably done for the sake of economy. The cost of conducting preliminary testing is not called, but, according to the medical portal ibolid.ru, the analysis costs within 3,000 rubles per patient.

The head of the epidemiological department of the Kazan State Clinical Hospital No. 7 admitted that none of the first group of 60 vaccinated people had antibodies, although many claimed that they had been ill, but testing did not confirm this.

“Apparently, they were ill in a mild form with a small amount of antibodies produced, or they ended by the time of vaccination," she explained, adding that subjective feelings can be deceptive. Nevertheless, at first, test was mandatory for those “who said that they were definitely not infected”, and for those who said that “there seemed to be something or lost the smell”.

Natalia Shaykhrazieva was pleased that the ministry of healthcare has recently allowed the use of the Sputnik V vaccine for citizens over 60 years of age:

“If earlier it was prescribed up to 60 years and everyone was afraid, now pensioners are very willing to do. They are even more active than everyone else. Many of them are mobile: they constantly have to go for their grandchildren and other personal matters.”

When vaccination will resume at this clinic remains unknown. Orders for the receipt of the next batch of vaccine have not yet been received.

Out of the first group of 60 vaccinated, no antibodies were found, although many claimed that they had been ill, but tests did not confirm this. Photo: sntat.ru

Is it worth buying a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19? Easy

The shortage of the vaccine fell in the hands of those who doubt its effectiveness and do not want to be vaccinated, and a certificate is required at the place of work. So the demand for fake certificates of vaccination against Covid-19 has grown. Moreover, it can be easily purchased in Kazan. It is enough to request in the search engine “to buy a certificate”, as many addresses of companies for the issuance of such “documents” are offered. Certainly, the websites do not directly indicate the sale of certificates on vaccinations against COVID-19, but one can agree after a thorough conversation. For example, the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya, who called under the guise of an interested client, was offered to buy “a certificate” for 1,500 rubles.

“We just help those who have not been vaccinated but a certificate is required," the young man explained on the phone.

This practice has long been in effect in Moscow. Back in December, the All-Russian Popular Front monitored the provision of services for the production of certificates confirming the absence of coronavirus infection without passing tests. As it turned out, in a quarter of the regions, you can easily purchase such certificate on the day of request for a small fee. Basically, certificates are popular with people who need to go abroad, find a job, go to work after self-isolation, register in a clinic for inpatient treatment. Now they are replaced by certificates of vaccination.

The All-Russian Popular Front monitored the provision of services for the production of certificates confirming the absence of coronavirus infection without passing tests. As it turned out, in a quarter of the regions, you can easily purchase such certificate on the day of request for a small fee. Photo: vesti.ru

A certificate of vaccination against coronavirus may become mandatory for travels outside of Russia. The ministry of healthcare of Russia doesn't exclude this. According to the adviser to the minister of healthcare, Sergey Glagolev, in the coming years, vaccination against coronavirus is likely to become an addition to the passport and visa for international travel.

Some Kazan residents hope to get a fake certificate in their polyclinic agreeing with a nurse.

However, the deputy chief physician for polyclinic work of the polyclinic No. 11, Marat Khamidullin, rejected such option: “This is a pointless conversation.”

It is better to refuse vaccination than to buy a fake certificate

Kazan lawyers ambiguously assess the consequences but warn that the use of fake certificates carries the risk of a fine of at least 80,000 rubles.

“Administrative responsibility for forgery of documents is borne only by legal entities. For a citizen, criminal liability immediately comes under Article 327 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation," lawyer Rustam Gubaydullin explained to Realnoe Vremya. “It regulates two components: Part 3 (acquisition and use of forged documents) and Part 5 (only use). But there is a difficulty in applying this article of the Criminal Code. If you fake a certificate of disability, you can receive an increased pension. But what does a fake certificate of vaccination give? What can you get from providing it? Nothing yet. Therefore, its use can be interpreted under Part 5 of Article 327 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. And this is a minimum fine of 80,000 rubles or imprisonment for a year.

“I have not yet met the practice of bringing to justice for forgery of certificates," says Denis Khayrullin, Zenit ANP law firm. “At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the social significance of the issue. The forgery of Covid-19 certificates carries a potential threat to life and health.

If it is revealed that a positively infected person used a false certificate, especially if it was associated with aggravating circumstances, for example, contributed to the infection that led to death, then this situation can lead to a more serious punishment, a criminal case can be initiated, experts warn.

At the same time, they will be held liable not only under Article 327 of the Criminal Code for forgery of a certificate, but also under paragraphs 2, 3 of Article 236 of the Criminal Code for violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules providing for imprisonment from 3 to 7 years.

Lawyers agree that it may be better to refuse vaccination than to buy a fake cerificate.

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Tatarstan