Saturday Jan 15, 2022
ITALY: A string of Telegram channels have been uncovered that claim to sell fake COVID passes to Italian anti-vaxxers amid the tightening of restrictions in the country, VICE reported.
Since anti-vaxxers have grown immensely resentful of Italy’s COVID-19 rules, over ten channels have been discovered which claim to sell fake green passes.
Passes can help Italians access cinemas, shops, and are also mandatory in the workplace.
Many of the channels have over 5,000 or 10,000 subscribers, while two have more than 400,000, the report said.
Since last summer, police have been putting efforts to curb the channels but these accounts appear to be increasing. Several accounts have ramped up their activity since new guidelines have been introduced by Italy in early January that extended their vaccine mandate to everybody over 50-years-old. New accounts have emerged in 2022.
An investigation was carried out by VICE and has revealed that an Italian nurse has been arrested on suspicion of administering fake COVID-19 vaccines to at least 45 people.
Four alleged accomplices, including her, have been accused of finding anti-vaxxers who were willing to pay €300 (£250) for a fake health pass.
“Another 200 green passes sold in just one week, thank you!” boasts one account. “They took down our account at 130,000 subscribers – but I always return! You already know that!” says another.