A man was arrested in Belgium on Sunday after attempting to get his ninth COVID-19 vaccine on behalf of others, according to local media reports.
The unnamed 33-year-old was arrested in Fosses-la-Ville, near Namur, after staff at the vaccination center notified officials, The Brussels Times reported.
He was allegedly being paid 100 to 150 euros ($113 to $169) by individuals who did not want to be vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus and arrived at the centers with their identity cards in order to get a Covid Safe Ticket (CST) without being vaccinated themselves.
Employees in multiple vaccination centers in the cities of Namur and Charleroi alerted police after they noticed the man had returned for more vaccine shots within a short time period, according to De Standaard.
He was reportedly arrested by undercover police officers.
The Namur public prosecutor’s office has ordered an investigation into the incident and noted that several people who had given the man their ID cards to get vaccines on their behalf have already been identified. They face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 800,000 euros ($906,000) for forgery and fraud by means of information technology, if found guilty.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine three weeks (21 days) apart, two doses of the Moderna vaccine four weeks (28 days) apart, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
Individuals receiving a vaccine that requires two doses should get the second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible and no earlier than the recommended interval, as per the CDC.
“It is unlikely that the man’s health is at risk from too many vaccinations,” virologist Steven van Gucht told The Brussels Times. “But he is also not necessarily better protected against the virus. You can’t stimulate your immune system endlessly.”
Under current rules in Belgium, only those who are vaccinated and can present a Covid Safe Ticket can enter bars, restaurants, and fitness centers, and enter gatherings or events with more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.
Those working on the front line, such as firemen and nursing staff, must also be vaccinated by Jan. 1, 2022, and face dismissal on April 1, 2022, if not fully vaccinated by then.
Earlier this month, authorities in New Zealand said they were investigating a man who allegedly received as many as 10 COVID-19 vaccine shots in one day on behalf of other people.
The New Zealand news website Stuff.co.nz reported that the unidentified man visited several vaccination sites and was paid to receive the shots on behalf of other individuals, assuming their identity.
Astrid Koornneef, a manager of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine and immunization program, confirmed that the New Zealand Ministry of Health was aware of the alleged incident and an investigation was underway.
“We are very concerned about this situation and are working with the appropriate agencies,” she told the New Zealand Herald. The ministry didn’t elaborate on where the alleged incident occurred, and officials provided no other details.
“To assume another person’s identity and receive a medical treatment is dangerous. This puts at risk the person who receives a vaccination under an assumed identity and the person whose health record will show they have been vaccinated when they have not,” Koornneef said. “This could affect how their health is managed in the future.”