KEY POINTS

  • The doctor in a private clinic in Malaysia was selling fake vaccination certificates
  • The fake certificates were then getting updated on the official government website
  • The police have launched an investigation into the case

The police in Malaysia have arrested a doctor for allegedly selling fake vaccination certificates to anti-vaxxers.

The doctor was arrested from a private clinic in the state of Terengganu, local media reports said Sunday. An investigation by the Terengganu Commercial Crime Investigation Department led to the raid of the private clinic, The World of Buzz reported.

Authorities said they discovered the clinic was selling fake vaccination certificates, which were then getting updated on MySejahtera –  a mobile application developed by the Government of Malaysia to facilitate contact tracing efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The anti-vaxxers allegedly paid nearly $600 to have their MySejahtera updated.

The suspect arrested was said to be a 51-year-old medical practitioner, who has not been named.

Preliminary investigation showed many transactions were done online, as some of the customers lived outside Terengganu. Most of the people that got the fake certificates were those who refused to take the vaccines, but required a certificate to move around or travel within the country.

“As of today, about 1,900 individuals are believed to have already gotten the certificates, and we are investigating whether all of these are authentic or otherwise," Terengganu police chief Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said, according to the Vibes. “During the raid, the police also confiscated related documents, vaccination appointment cards, a laptop and a telephone, among others."

Rohaimi has since warned anyone who issues fake vaccine certificates to customers to stop such practices. He also said the probe will be conducted jointly with the Health Ministry, including an investigation into the MySejahtera details of suspected individuals.

The accused doctor was currently being remanded under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health reported 2,641 cases COVID-19 Monday, as compared to the 2,888 infections Sunday. 

There have been several cases in various other countries, where fake vaccines and certificates were being handed over to people.

It was reported in August 2021 that selling of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards was on the rise as a growing number of colleges and universities across the United States required proof of vaccination from students. An Instagram account with the username “vaccinationcards” was found selling fraudulent cards for $25 each. On encrypted messaging app Telegram, a user was found selling “COVID-19 Vaccine Cards Certifications” for $200 each.

The Omicron Covid variant has prompted US firms to get tough on vaccines and masks The Omicron Covid variant has prompted US firms to get tough on vaccines and masks Photo: AFP / Frederic J. BROWN