Court suspends nurse suspected of counterfeiting COVID-19 certificates

A coronavirus vaccination certificate displayed on a mobile phone. Certificates can also be printed out and carried on paper.
A coronavirus vaccination certificate displayed on a mobile phone. Certificates can also be printed out and carried on paper. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

A nurse has been suspended from work by Harju County Court after being suspected of issuing immunization certificates to unvaccinated people in exchange for bribes.

"As the prosecutor's office is of the opinion that suspension from work is the most effective way to ensure that the healthcare worker cannot continue issuing immunization certificates to unvaccinated people, we requested that the court suspend her from work," North District Prosecutor Triinu Olev said.

"Medical professionals are working hard to overcome the current viral situation and everyone else is helping to do the same by complying with the restrictions and rules. Law enforcement agencies are working to prevent some people from acquiring rights that they do not actually have with a forged document," the prosecutor added.

The Central Criminal Police on November 11 apprehended a nurse in Harju County who is suspected of issuing immunization certificates to unvaccinated people in exchange for bribes.

The woman has been charged with counterfeiting of documents as an official and accepting bribes

The preliminary suspicion concerns close to 20 episodes; however, this number may change in the course of proceedings.

The police also apprehended five people who are suspected of arranging bribes. It is thought they helped the nurse find clients who are prepared to pay for a counterfeit immunization certificate.

It will be decided in the course of proceedings how many people will face suspicions of bribe-giving.

Ats Kübarsepp, head of the office for the investigation of corruption crimes at the Central Criminal Police, said that demand for counterfeit vaccination certificates increased after restrictions were tightened.

"Similarly to a passport or ID-card, the immunization certificate is an important document from the legal perspective, and counterfeiting the certificate as well as using a counterfeit certificate constitutes a violation of the law," he said.

Kübarsepp added that unvaccinated people being issued the certificate undermines the entire vaccination process as well as the efforts of people who duly follow restrictions and doctors who are working under excessive burden.

The proceedings are conducted by the office for the investigation of corruption crimes of the Central Criminal Police and led by the North District Prosecutor's Office.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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