General Public Prosecutor’s Offices: Forgery of vaccination certificates is a punishable offense

Status: 04.11.2021 3:41 p.m.

According to the Lower Saxony Public Prosecutor’s Office, forging vaccination certificates is a criminal offense. You are contradicting a ruling by the Osnabrück Regional Court, which spoke of a “criminal liability loophole”.

The public prosecutor’s offices in Lower Saxony consider the production of falsified vaccination certificates to obtain a digital vaccination certificate in pharmacies to be a criminal offense. The criminal offenses of forgery of health certificates and the use of incorrect health certificates are not applicable in these cases, it says in a statement. However, recourse to the criminal offense of forging documents is possible.

The public prosecutor’s offices based in Braunschweig, Celle and Oldenburg expressed their views on a different decision by the Osnabrück regional court. The latter recently ruled that presenting a forged vaccination card in a pharmacy is not a criminal offense – at least not if the forgery was created by a private person. There is a “criminal liability loophole”, as the court said. That ARD-Politikmagazin Report Mainz and had reported about it.

Court: Only falsification by a doctor is punishable

The court had justified its decision with paragraphs in the criminal code that specifically refer to health certificates. According to the court, they only criminalize the submission of a falsified health certificate to authorities or insurance companies, but pharmacies are private companies.

In addition, the court argued that after changes to the Infection Protection Act passed in May, the preparation or presentation of a false vaccination pass would only be punishable if the certificate was issued by a “person entitled to vaccinate”, for example a doctor.

The decision of the higher court is still pending

The Attorney General’s offices expressly do not share this assessment. In their opinion, there is no reason to assume that there is a criminal liability loophole. Such would “obviously contradict the will of the legislature”.

Anyone who tries to obtain a digital vaccination certificate with a forged vaccination certificate must also expect that he or she will be prosecuted by the public prosecutor in the future. The public prosecutor’s offices are now striving for a clarification “in their favor” by means of a pending decision by the higher court.

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