People are using online auction sites to sell coronavirus vaccine cards and are making hundreds of pounds worth of profit.

An investigation has found that NHS Covid vaccine cards, which are given to those when they receive their first dose of the jab, were being sold on eBay.

A listing on the online auction site offering covid vaccine cards, complete with "genuine" batch numbers, saw almost 80 purchased at £5 each in less than 24 hours. 

The auction site has since responded to a request for comment and has removed the listing, citing that it is against its policy to sell documents distributed by the Government.

Meanwhile, an MP said this highlighted a need for the Government to create a more official system, as he accused those behind online listings of "taking advantage". 

Epping Forest Guardian:

The item offered 'multi-buy' discounts for those purchasing in bulk 

It comes as some travel companies, including P&O Cruises, have suggested they will require proof of vaccination from customers before allowing travel.

Meanwhile some countries including Cyprus have already said they may require British tourists to have had both doses of the vaccine, although what proof is required has not yet been established.

At the weekend, an eBay listing offering "genuine" Covid vaccine cards appeared online with customers being asked to pay £5 each, or a discounted "multi-buy" rate if they purchased more.

The listing, which at time of its removal had seen 135 such cards sold – 76 more than the previous day, had potentially raised as much as £675 in funds from customers.

A private message between our sister title The Northern Echo and the seller confirmed it had been promising to offer its customers "genuine" batch numbers from existing Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vials.

The listing was later removed by eBay, which says it does not permit the sale of items distributed by the Government to be sold, although it did not say whether customers would be refunded.

Epping Forest Guardian:

The card is only meant to be distributed to those receiving their jab 

A spokesperson for eBay said: "Currently those who have had a vaccine are not afforded any travel privileges and are not exempt from any lockdown restrictions.

"Additionally there are no reported plans for vaccine cards to be used as an official record of vaccination, and they don’t include any official identification.

"However, as per our policy, we have removed these listings to prevent any attempt to resell Government documents for personal profit."

Last week, the Government suggested that it was working on providing people in England the ability to officially prove their vaccination status as an increasing number of countries said they were developing a Covid travel passport.

Epping Forest Guardian:

MP for North Durham, Kevan Jones who said the Government should make their decision 

But for Labour's MP for North Durham Kevan Jones, the sale of NHS Covid cards on auction sites like Ebay further bolstered the need to have an official proof provided by the UK Government.

He said: "The problem is the government are dragging their heels over this. This is allowing people to take advantage of people’s vulnerability.

"The government should urgently get on with it and say whether they will produce these cards.

"I would urgently warn anyone looking at buying these cards to think about this before parting with their hard-earned money."

Mr Jones said that the Government should work alongside agencies to create a travel passport that is internationally-recognised.

He said: "They should be working with agencies like IATA (International Air Transport Association), who have been working on this for the past several months.

"I think it’s important in terms of people being able to travel in confidence and safely, but if you look at the economic impact, there is a lot of jobs in this sector struggling."

It is understood that ministers "believe" Covid passports could play an important role both domestically and internationally, but that this is weighed up ethically.

Last week, the Department of Transport said it was "working on a solution" to allow Brits prove their Covid vaccine status to other countries, but did not suggest a timeframe.

At the time, a spokesperson for the department said: “We are working on this as a priority and intend to have the solution ready as soon as possible.”

In response to the sale of Covid vaccine cards on auction sites, the Department of Health said they should not be being sold or distributed outside the NHS vaccine programme. 

They said: “As with other vaccination programmes, a vaccine record card is issued to patients with the relevant details about their vaccination, including the date of their vaccination and their vaccine type.

“A record card is not an immunity certification and these cards shouldn’t be sold or distributed outside of the vaccination programme.”