Police in Austria have performed national raids over the suspected sale of faux vaccination passes.
In general, 22 people are under research for “forgery, use of falsified documents and fraud”, the internal ministry said in a statement.
The searches come just a few weeks prior to Austria becomes one among the first EUROPEAN countries to make COVID-19 vaccines obligatory. On Wednesday, Italy introduced it used to be making them obligatory for the over 50s.
Officials say the suspects are all anti-vaccine activists who are accused of trafficking pretend well being certificate for themselves and their households.
“The suspects shape a heterogeneous team, with the only common issue being the rejection of public coverage standards,” the interior ministry stated on Wednesday.
A number of pretend vaccine passes — to boot as cellphones and computer systems — had been seized as a part of the operation.
The investigation was once introduced after police officers infiltrated a group on the messaging platform Telegram.
“this is not a minor offence, but a felony act,” said interior minister Gerhard Karner, adding that he could take action “particularly in opposition to counterfeiters and those who do trade within the shadows”.
Austria had set up a dedicated police staff to combat the sale of fake vaccine certificates in April 2021.
According to reputable figures, round 70% of Austria’s inhabitants has been fully vaccinated in opposition to the virus, and amid an increase in Omicron instances officers are pushing forward with a vaccine mandate.
From February, unvaccinated voters will in theory most effective be allowed to leave properties for meals buying groceries, sporting job, or scientific remedy.