The vaccination process has now become a money-maker for a group of persons in the north. Up to news time tonight, one nurse has been fingered in a scheme where falsified vaccination cards were being sold. The going rate as we understand it is three hundred dollars. Speaking on the issue to the media is Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa and the Police Commissioner, Chester Williams.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “We have been informed of it. There is also an instance I believe in San Pedro and Caye Caulker that we’re looking at, that’s very concerning to see that there are individuals out there actually carrying out these very fraudulent acts and certainly that will have its consequences as a result of the police investigation.”
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I know yes that we have received complaints from the Ministry of Health of the proliferation of fake vaccination cards and there are some names that we have gotten as to persons who may be involved in this illegal activity and that matter is currently being pursued by the police. We know about a nurse and we also know about somebody else, a person who is not a nurse so we are looking for two persons at this time.”
Reporter: And this particular activity is centralized in one district ? One municipality or a string of systems?
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Well so far we’ve only received information in Belize district per se.”
Also condemning the sale of fake vaccination cards was the President of the Nurses Association of Belize, Darrell Spencer. Spencer says he had gotten reports of the scheme earlier this week and was made to understand that the fraud was not being carried by just one individual.
Darrell Spencer, President, Nurses Association of Belize: “We’ve already started to investigate more about the incident or incidents and I am not fully briefed on all aspects just this instant. We are still awaiting more information. This thing I don’t think it has to do with any one person, it is sad that the nurse being implicated is the highlight when these behavior is a little ring and there’s no one person who controls the issuance of cards. Whether it be a member of the association or not a member of the association it is a nurse and the association likes to be informed of whatever is happening to nurses across the country. So most definitely we’ll be looking into it because it is not a behavior that is approved, it is not a behavior that will be defended by the association. We do not encourage our members to participate in wrong doing.”
Commissioner Williams has echoed the Ministry of Health’s warning, saying that anyone found guilty of selling or buying the fake vaccination cards could be imprisoned for up to six months.