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Fake French health pass sellers are murderers, says widower

The government estimates that ‘several thousand’ false passes are in use in France. A woman died after using one as, after catching Covid, the hospital made a treatment plan based on the premise that she was vaccinated

A French health pass seen on a smartphone

There are several thousand fake health passes in circulation, the French interior minister has said Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

There are several thousand fake health passes in circulation in France, the government has said, as the husband of a woman who died after using a fake health pass condemns illegal sellers as “murderers”.

More than 400 inquiries have now opened into these “networks”, which “often, unfortunately, have links with health professionals,” said interior minister Gérald Darmanin on RTL.

He reminded people that the punishment for issuing a false pass is severe, and can entail up to five years in jail and a fine of €75,000-150,000 depending on the severity of the offence.

False vaccination certificate implicated in woman’s death

It comes soon after a 57-year-old woman died in hospital in Paris after contracting Covid, but who had presented doctors with a fake vaccination certificate, which delayed correct treatment.

The woman, known as Aïcha, died at the Raymond-Poincaré de Garches hospital in Hauts-de-Seine, near Paris, at the beginning of December, after having been admitted with a severe form of Covid. 

Read more: Covid patient dies in French hospital after showing fake vaccine pass 

Professor Djillali Annane, head of the hospital’s intensive care unit, told Franceinfo that the ICU carried out a series of tests to look for a cause of the woman’s deteriorating health, and only realised that her vaccination certificate was false after testing for Covid antibodies.

At that point, it was too late to change her treatment plan, and she died soon after. She had no underlying medical conditions, but was not vaccinated.

Professor Annane said: “It was the first time seeing a relatively young woman, without any known medical conditions, who was vaccinated, who was developing a form of the virus that was notable in its severity.”

The professor said that if the hospital had known sooner she was not vaccinated, the situation could have been different as the team would have taken a different approach.

He said: "To all my colleagues who prescribe false vaccination certificates, I want to say that they are doing their patients a disservice, and cheating them.”

Husband calls issuer of fake pass ‘a murderer’

The deceased woman’s husband has now said he will lodge a formal complaint against the doctor who issued the fake vaccination pass to his wife. 

He told BFMTV: “I don’t blame the hospital, I trust them, they did everything they could to save her. I blame the [professional who gave out the certificate], they’re not a doctor, they’re a murderer, an assassin. I am lodging a complaint against the fake. Justice must be done.”

The doctor who issued the fake pass has reportedly already had their medical licence taken away.

The husband said he already felt huge guilt that he did not immediately tell the hospital that his wife’s proof of full vaccination was in fact fake.

He said that she had been bringing in PCR tests to work instead of getting vaccinated, but someone told her: “I know someone who can give you a fake health pass for €200”.

The man, who is himself fully vaccinated, added that the couple had argued about the issue and “almost got divorced because of it”. 

He said that when in hospital he initially “respected his wife’s wishes” not to be honest about her vaccination status, even though he “tried everything, went down on my knees and begged her to tell the hospital” that she was not vaccinated.

He said: “My wife told me: ‘Do not tell them that I am not vaccinated, tell them I am vaccinated’...even though I had tried everything to make her get vaccinated.”

High-profile cases involving fake passes

Health passes in France are used to prove the holder’s Covid-free status, whether they are fully vaccinated or have taken a negative test within the past 24 hours. It allows entry into most public places including restaurants and cinemas.

There have been a number of other high-profile cases involving fake passes in recent months. 

In Val-de-Marne last month, one doctor was accused of selling at least 220 fake health passes, and is now under investigation and in custody.

In Béziers last week, a 55-year-old nurse and 34-year-old teacher were taken into custody after being accused of issuing and using a fake health pass, and setting up false vaccination appointments.

In Cantal, a 75-year-old doctor is accused of using his Assurance maladie website login details to register fake vaccination appointments and create around 30 fake health passes. He is set to appear in court in Aurillac this month.

Professor Annane reminded the public that a fake vaccination certificate and pass “do not protect against the virus and can mislead the doctor who may treat you”.

What are the punishments or fines for health pass offences?

The French government website states the following:

  • €135 fine for not showing a pass where asked
  • €1,500 if a second offence is committed within 15 days
  • €3,750 and up to six months in jail if a third offence is committed within a 30-day time period
  • €750 fine for using someone else’s pass, dropping to €135 if paid quickly
  • €1,500 in case of a second offence of using someone else’s pass in 15 days
  • €3,750 and up to six months in jail if a third offence is committed within a 30-day time period
  • Closure of a shop or public space that is found to not be checking health passes
  • €1,000 fine and a year in prison for shopkeepers or professionals committing four offences in a period of 40 days
  • €45,000 fine for shopkeepers or professionals committing their fifth offence or more
  • €75,000 and up to five years in prison for using, obtaining, or selling fake health passes
  • €75,000 and jail time for violence or aggression against people asking to see a health pass

Related articles

French nurse faces five years in jail for issuing fake health pass 

Covid patient dies in French hospital after showing fake vaccine pass

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