THE Ministry of Health will contact some vaccine recipients to verify their personal details, a ministry statement said on Wednesday.
It said the ministry "is currently engaged in a verification process to ensure that the information provided on immunisation record cards (vaccination cards) is accurate. Where required, ministry representatives are contacting members of the public, via telephone, to confirm the information provided."
The statement said representatives will identify themselves before obtaining the information.
"The public is assured all information is treated as confidential and will only be used for official record keeping as the ministry moves towards the digitising of its immunisation records."
It asked members of the public to co-operate and said they can verify the legitimacy of the calls and the callers by calling 627-0010/11/12 ext 175.
This announcement comes a month after Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said at a media briefing on July 28 that his ministry had heard allegations about the creation of bogus vaccination cards and had sent a report on this for the police to investigate.
Anyone forging or receiving such cards can be jailed for seven years under the Forgery Act, he warned. He said, “Some files are already on the way to the police based on whistle-blower information from a concerned person. If it’s proved to be true, the people can be imprisoned for seven years. Both the person creating the card and the person receiving the card are liable to be imprisoned.”
The BBC reported on Tuesday that customs officials in Memphis, Tennessee and Anchorage, Alaska recently seized 6,000 false vaccination cards in shipments from China destined for US recipients.
"They were printed with the CDC logo and closely resembled the genuine cards given to US citizens when they get vaccinated. However, when officials looked closer they noticed spelling mistakes and poor printing quality."
Fears have also arisen in Jamaica, where Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said if anyone tried to pass off a fake vaccination certificate in Jamaica he or she would likely be caught. The Daily Gleaner recently reported that the authenticity of Jamaica’s vaccination cards "could very well be tested amid an increasing number of cases of fake cards being sold in the Caribbean and other countries."