By: Hilma Tuukondjele
The recruitment requirements by the Namibia defence force have escalated the issue of Covid-19 vaccination card forgery, leading to the suspect being caught red-handed.
Two weeks ago, the defence and veteran affairs ministry issued a vacancy for cadets in which Covid-19 vaccination cards should accompany application forms.
The health executive director Ben Nangombe said some individuals were forging and printing their vaccination cards, signing them and issuing them to members of the public for sale.
“We engaged the Namibian police force, and as we speak, the suspect who was caught red-handed was arrested and appeared in court yesterday,”
He said that with the cases of stolen cards, the investigations by the Namibian police are ongoing, and they are waiting to hear about what they uncover and whether the suspects are going to cooperate with the police to have a better idea of how many fake cards are issued.
Nangombe says the situation of the forged vaccination cards has been making rounds for some time, but in recent weeks it appears to have picked up following the NDF’s vacancy.
“We received reports that these things are happening, and we put measures in place. First, we issued a circular to our health regions around the country to make sure that the stock of all unused vaccination cards at all vaccination sites are accounted for and that they are only issued to people who are being vaccinated,” he said.
He warned the members of the public who may find themselves tempted to buy the fake vaccination cards that there is a system whereby they can establish. He further said the health ministry will work with the ministry of defence to make sure that they are not duped into accepting the forged cards.
He warned that if a person tries to present the forged document to the ministry of defiance, they will end up regretting their actions.
He did not clarify the difference between the original and forged documents as it would jeopardise the ongoing investigation by the police.
He explained that organisations that require vaccination cards for employment can present the details on the particular vaccination card to the health ministry to establish the card’s authenticity.
A vaccination card is also backed by a digital vaccination certificate, which is a verifiable document with a QR code.
He said the ministry has warned the various testing centres to ensure that each card is accounted for, and those that are issued are only to those who have been vaccinated, and those that want their vaccination card verified can approach the ministry.