As more people across the United States and New Jersey roll up their sleeves to protect themselves against COVID-19, the risk of scammers selling fraudulent vaccination cards is now higher than ever.
Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson), who represents the 31st Legislative District, including Bayonne, proposed legislation on May 5 that would criminalize the making, selling or displaying of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Those caught buying, selling, or possessing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards are subject to a fine.
“As we begin the slow recovery back to normalcy, we must not allow people to cheat the system at the expense of others,” said Chiaravalloti. “Falsifying medical documents poses a serious risk to those around you, and it must be taken seriously.”
COVID-19 vaccine cards document the date that vaccinated people received their doses, the manufacturer of their vaccine, and its batch number. For some schools such as Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology, students will not be allowed on campus in the fall without proof of vaccination.
“The act of falsifying a COVID-19 vaccine card in order to enjoy the freedoms that come with it is a serious concern, not just from a health but also a public safety perspective,” Chiaravalloti said. “This law will ensure that people will be kept safe, especially after the year we’ve all had.”
‘Save the bees’
Also on May 5, Chiaravalloti introduced a joint resolution that would designate the third Saturday in August as “Save the Bees Day” in New Jersey. The resolution would recognize the significance of bee colonies and will bring attention to their collapse due to pesticides.
“New Jersey wouldn’t be known as the ‘Garden State’ without bees, which play a vital part in our state’s food production,” said Chiaravalloti. “By being conscious of the products used, we can do more to support bee colonies in New Jersey, and across the country.”
Bees depend on pollen and nectar produced by flowering plants as their main food source. In the process of collecting pollen and nectar, over 20,000 species of bees help pollinate plants, which in turn become essential crops for humans. Due to the increasing use of herbicides, pesticides, and agricultural monocultures, the number of bees and managed bee colonies has dropped dramatically. Since World War II, managed bee colonies have decreased from 4.5 million to 2 million, a phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder.”
“Bees are essential for humanity to survive,” said Chiaravalloti. “Through simple outreach and education, we can affect the global bee population in a meaningful way.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.