Russia detains medical worker for selling fake vaccine certificates

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Russian police said they had detained a health worker in the Kaliningrad region for allegedly selling fake coronavirus vaccination certificates.

Moscow and several Russian regions have resorted to tough measures to encourage people to get inoculated, including by making vaccination mandatory to hold certain jobs.

The measures have driven some people towards an online black market to purchase vaccination certificates, a development authorities in Moscow say they are following closely.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the suspect, an administrator at a clinic in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, had allegedly issued fake vaccination certificates to more than 20 people.

The offence can carry a prison sentence under Russian law.

The woman also allegedly poured down the drain the contents of the vaccines that were meant to be used by the people purchasing the fake certificates, the ministry said.

The Kremlin has blamed a new surge in coronavirus cases on the more infectious Delta variant and on people’s reluctance to get vaccinated despite shots being widely available.

Russians often cite a fear of new medical products and their concerns are compounded by widespread mistrust of authorities and negative media reports about foreign-made vaccines.

Photo: Russian policemen wearing face masks guard on the Red Square in front of Spaskaya tower of Moscow Kremlin, in downtown Moscow, Russia. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY