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Greek officials have announced that they will check the vaccination certificates of its citizens that have been made abroad, respectively in Bulgaria and Romania. Officials suspect that the vaccination certificates are fake and in fact no immunization procedure happened, schreibt Cristian Gherasim.

The suspicions involve citizens in the north of the country that would possess counterfeit certificates made in Bulgaria. This comes on the backdrop of an increase number of complaints against family physicians in Bulgaria - who might have issued fake documents. At the same time, Bulgaria is breaking record after record in terms of mortality from coronavirus in the European Union and is reporting a large number of infections on a daily basis, being also the country with the most COVID "deniers".

A real enterprise of false vaccination certificates has been set up in Bulgaria, from where it seems that several Greeks would be getting their certificates, mainly Greeks living in the north of the country close to the Bulgarian border. Someone told the public television station ERT that, for 300 euros, a vaccination certificate without any need for a vaccine can be obtained in Bulgaria.

In Bulgaria, vaccination is performed by family doctors, in an uncontrolled environment. In vaccination centers, however, six to seven people are always involved in the procedure. The Bulgarian procedure favors fraud, and speculators have begun trading in certificates.

Greek officials say that vaccinations of Greeks who appear to have been made abroad, namely in Bulgaria and Romania, have come under scrutiny, and if they prove to be fictitious, people risk serious criminal and financial sanctions.

In both Bulgaria and Romania, there have been extensive reports of how easily such a document can be obtained. The complaints are numerous and come mainly from the testimonies of some doctors who report that patients admit that they have obtained green passes , without having been vaccinated.

In Romania, the cases of fake vaccination certificates are numerous. While anti-COVD-19 vaccines are readily available in Romania, some shun the jabs but not the certificates received only after getting fully inoculated.

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In order to dodge quarantine, travel freely or enter public events that require attendees to be inoculated, some Romanians are willing to pay for the fake vaccination certificates.

According to a complaint sent by to Romanian Health Ministry to the General Prosecutor's Office, the ministry warns about several cases of Romanians who in exchange for money received such certificates without being immunized.

First, in Alba county, a vaccination center issued certificates for people who had not actually been vaccinated there, according to the police report. The doctor allegedly stated in the medical papers that the unused doses had in fact been administered to several people allowing them to get the fake vaccination certificates, which were then used for the COVID certificates. Alba county Department of Public Health representatives notified the police after the unused doses were discovered. The case is currently under investigation and a police search is carried out at the vaccination centre.

In a separate case, in Timisoare, a county in western Romania, several people pretended to be employees of a vaccination center and announced on the internet that they could obtain immunization certificates for the amount of 100 euros. Authorities have launched an investigation.

Romanian Border Police also uncovered 12 Romanians who returned from UK with false certificates, bearing the insignia of English health authorities, as proof of recovering from COVID, thus allowing them to dodge quarantine upon their return to Romania.

Over the last weeks, at national level, the border police discovered 69 Romanians who tried to return to the country using false or forged certificates.

The various cases of Romanian citizens trying to get the vaccination certificate without having to actually get the jab calls into question the inoculation program carried out by authorities.

Romania is one of the least vaccinated country in the EU, closely followed by Bulgaria taking the first spot as the least vaccinated EU member state.

Sociologists in Romania explain the phenomenon.

“Anti-vaccination propaganda is very strong and has gained many followers, amid a poor organization to counter it by the Romanian authorities. Throughout South-Eastern Europe we see vaccination campaigns that are not going well.”

“The people shunning the vaccines but looking for ways to benefit from vaccination certificates are those who do not trust the government-run inoculation campaign, or believe that vaccines are not sufficiently tested, or that the pandemic does not exist, or who regard vaccination as contrary to their religion ideas.”

Healthcare institutions across the country sounded the alarm over the issue, notifying the Ministry of Health about the attempt of some Romanian citizens to obtain the EU Digital COVID Certificate using false vaccination certificates.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate entered into application on 1 July 2021. The certificate is proof that the person has either been vaccinated, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

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