Dr Liz Gordon: Gaming the Covid Vaccination Certificate


I have joined the land of the vaccinated.  As I recounted last week, my first jab was lost in administration, and I had to take action to amend the incorrect record that I had only had one jab, when in fact I had two.  I had little faith that it would be put right (on my sixth try) but suddenly, I am all signed up.  I have my vaccine certificate (or CVC as it is officially called). Yay.

I was keen to get it to try and subvert it. I read a very interesting Stuff article last week on the poor quality of the document.  It is just an ordinary PDF, and anyone with PDF editing software can, well, write their own form.

Within a couple of minutes, I had issued a CVC to Santa Claus, born in 1344.  But surely, I hear you say, all anyone has to do is check the QR code and they will know that this is not the real Santa?

But isn’t that exactly what everyone wanted to avoid – thousands of businesses, having to check the credentials of every single person who comes into their bar or swimming pool or gym? Bottlenecks at the entrance to large events? They need something that is secure and hard to forge. Why a PDF?  Why not a little app?

Indeed why not just upgrade the tracer app and embed the certificate? Easy peasy? Evidently not.

I dunno, but I predict a large rash of fake CVCs around the place over summer.  Many will be real attempts to dodge the rules, but I reckon we will see a large number of Mickey Mouses, Donald Trumps and Adolph Hitlers turning up for a night out. Flaunting a fake ID is yet another way for vaccine refusers to protest, and we will see some of this.

The trouble with this is that the burden will fall on the conscientious business owner who has downloaded the QR reader app and is determined to protect patrons by ensuring only doubly vaccinated persons pass through the doors.

So someone arrives at the door with a CVC and a driver’s licence in the name of Jane Smith, aged 30. But the QR code sys it is the certificate of John Smith, aged 55. There’s going to be an argument, isn’t there?  There’s going to be tears.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

And what about this birthday malarkey?  Fortunately, I don’t think women lie about their age any more (it was mandatory in my Mother’s generation).  But one is likely to get the odd sharp intake of breath: “WHAT? Are you that old really”? Charming.

The new order passed last week did make it an offence to forge or borrow someone else’s certificate, but this will be such a minor offence that no penalty is even mentioned. And are the police going to rush mindlessly from venue to venue issuing fines?

I’m just saying that it is madness that the document on which our summer rests in so uniquely shonky. There are 350,000 people out there determined to protest the limitation on their freedoms in any way they can, and here is a method handed to them on a plate.

Anyhow, this may all be moot, as we may all be back in lockdown hiding from the multi-mutated Omicron variant.  Who’s heard of Omicron anyway?  Is it a letter of the Greek alphabet?  Why not Omega, the end of all things?  Or is that variant still to come?


Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.


  1. Omicron is potentially the game changer.
    As I write 2 cases in Australia.
    Transmission rate worryingly high and our border control must now be on high alert.
    A watch this space moment?

  2. All good points about fake Vaccination certificates.

    Test results are easier to fake and display, being simple text messages that anyone can send.

  3. Silly, …Omicron is a sign of things to come. It would appear, as previous viral pandemic’s have been, to be a ‘watering down’ of this virus. As viral pandemics have shown, there is a tapering off of these things, like in the Spanish flu, most last in their most lethal form 2-3 years, then become much less transmissible and lethal. It was the same throughout the 19th century. Before the advent of the knowledge of virology and modern medical practice. Its the natural morphing of the virus to not ‘kill’ its host but to change its RNA in response to its hosts greater immune response, which follows lethal pandemics like the Spanish flu. H1N1.

    The Spanish flu, lasted for around 2-3 years. It petered out, became extinct ,became far less virulent and became the ancestor of many of todays flus in which we take in our stride,…this too will pass, regards covid 19 as did the viral pandemics of the 19th century, regardless if it was manmade or natural.

    There are better times ahead.

      • True, but the Black Death was a bacterium which scientists now believe started well before the medieval times. One advantage we do have with bacterium is antibiotics, hence why the ‘Plague’ can be successfully treated if diagnosis/ treatment starts promptly. But the numbers of deaths were far higher in the Spanish flu than the Plague, earning it the title of the deadliest pandemic in history.

    • “Omicron is a sign of things to come. It would appear, as previous viral pandemic’s have been, to be a ‘watering down’ of this virus.”

      That appears to be an evidence free claim. Omicron is a mutation of Sars Cov2. Mutations are changes not just a “watering down”. It’s currently unknown whether this mutation results in a virus that is more dangerous or less dangerous to humans, particularly in how it affects those already vaccinated.

      • it’d be great if it was less fatal but at this time we don’t know that

        ….fingers and toes crossed

        and before anyone chips in with ‘covid it’s just another flu, there are no extra deaths’ you’re wrong that’s it no debate you’re wrong
        there that’s that delt with

      • We can only see, hopefully it is not as bad as delta. But historical evidence suggests these viral pandemics/ endemics do tend to change their RNA such that they become less virulent and lethal. Often within a matter of several years. Again, we can only wait and see.

    • You could well be right in this WK. History does supply some useful perspective. In the meantime, proceeding with a more cautious approach is reasonable enough. This way it’s made sure that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t yet another train.

  4. Gaming the vaccine passport system is a bit like pretending to be a skydiver and then jumping out of the plane with a backpack instead of a parachute. Playing that game is going to end well. The vaccine mandates are there to protect the unvaccinated, ignore them if you wish, it’s your funeral.

      • Most likely it would be their family or close friends, so they’d probably be okay with that. It’s good to be generous & share, especially if all your friends are AntiVaxxers too. Think of all that natural immunity they’ll be getting. Choices have consequences.

      • You’d be correct some of the time because to be effective, you should avoid touching the mask. If you do touch the mask, either the inside or outside, then you should either wash or sanitize your hands. This is why mask use was seen as less effective, people touch their masks, the push them up & down, touch their face, touch other surfaces etc. So if your mask is contaminated either because you have Covid-19 (inside of mask) or you’ve been in close contact with some who has Covid-19 (outside of the mask), you then contaminate everything you touch if you handle the mask. To provide real protection, PPE must be worn/used correctly.

        A friend of mine saw action in Kosovo, when they went out on “safe” patrols they would replace their heavy plates with light illustrated “reading” material. Of course if the patrol came under fire, then their PPE wasn’t worth shit. Correctly wearing/using your PPE can save lives and the life it saves may be your own.

        I am vaccinated, wear a mask, wash my hands and contact trace because I care about the people around me, especially vulnerable people in my care. Do you?

        • Nice try bro.
          Actually protecting myself from heart disease, prion disease, and a “vaccine” that requires boosters very 3 months (according to latest UK advice) doesn’t make me an idiot.

          I guess we’ll check back ina year or two and see who is the healthiest.
          PS I’m not an “anti-vaxxer”

          • You’ll probably find that if you aren’t vaccinated, your risks of organ damage & negative long term health effects will be much greater should you actually catch the virus than the minimal risks posed by the vaccine. Your risk of death from Covid-19, will largely depend on your age & current health status. I’m in my 50s and enjoy good health & an active lifestyle, how about you?

            • I’m 62 and enjoy and active and healthy lifestyle.
              The “minimal” side-effects of the vaccine include various heart related issues, now reported in medical journals, and various other issues.

              The UK are saying we need boosters every 3 months now.
              I’m holding back for a bit, cheers. I suspect the tide will turn when 5 year olds start the jabs and who knows what will happen then

              • If I was you, I’d definitely avoid catching Covid-19, the “flu like” effects of Covid-19 include death, organ damage and long covid.

                From research I’ve seen, it tends to be the resistance to catching & passing on the virus that reduces over time (hence the boosters), while the ability of your immune system to deal with the virus remains high, thus reducing the chance of hospitalization & death even without boosters.

                Things are definitely going to get bumpy before the virus hopefully burns itself out, though there is no timeline for that. It will be a summer to remember. Stay safe.

  5. I totally Agee. It is very unfair for the government to foist their bad IT onto the poor people (probably on minimum wages) patrolling the doors! And I don’t just think it will be arguments to worry about, we now have guns and axe attacks in NZ over minor issues.

    Door People are just going to wave everyone through because of fears of reprisals and so the whole thing is a farce to be stopping Covid.

    The government is doing their lazy usual, push the issue to someone else.

    Allowing easily falsified documents on a subject already involved in local and international riots and protests is all going to end well. Yeah Right!

    In addition the government should not be opening up the international borders at all. Our health system should be preserved for those who are already in NZ and stopping the spread of Covid, not allowing huge volumes of potentially Covid infected travellers to roam NZ.

    When all hell breaks loose, this Christmas will not be the joyful reunions that Granny Herald and the right wingers seem to think it will be.

    Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: China warns of ‘colossal’ Covid outbreak as virus variant emerges

  6. @ Fabulous Post @ DR LG.
    I never tell people my age. I just say, with my dear old eyes looking upward in that pathetic way ” But I’m not that old… I’ve just had such a hard life…. Any suggestions for improvement?” To which is often the mumble ” Oh Jesus! The old coot wants help or money. I’m outa here! ”
    Re the virus:
    Well, it’s pretty clear by now that no one knows anything about the virus. Covid and its weirdly named ‘Omicron’ variant is like a drunk, angry rugby league player at the pub. All you can do is avoid it.
    I think covid’s been cooked up then released. And now, its equally cooked up cousin, Omicron’, which suddenly popped up in Africa. (Africa? China? Weird and accidental? Really? ) is running around like a freaked out Pit Bull Terrier. It probably belongs to the league player…
    The greed of a handful of sociopaths who’s skills are in manipulation and exploitation have seen the terrible writing on the wall. Ironically, they’re soon to become the authors of their own demise.
    They see our only planet heading into a crisis phase. And they did it. Ok, so now what?
    As a farmer… When we had lice infest our sheep? We dipped them in toxins to kill the lice. When we had a rabbit plague? We variously gassed them in their burrows, shot them, trapped them and burned their gorse and broom habitats down. ( Is someone could invent condoms for rabbits? And perhaps an AI run 3d printed device to fit them? Run by an app on ones iGadget? What a youtube clip that’d make. The tap of a virtual button and a mob of rabbits on a hillside are suddenly fitted with condoms! Imagine their look of surprise?
    Our only planet is over-populated by hypnotised consumer-humans so why not cull those human beings? Kill off a few billion? But not quickly! It must be done slowly-slowly to catchy monkey…
    Manipulate people into becoming accustomed to the entire process, as we’re seeing, it could be argued. The old boiled frog versus the slowly heated frog thing. Then? Drop The Big One Harry.
    That’s why elon muskrat, jeff bezos, richard branson etc are all hell bent on becoming familiar with going into space, which they can now do relatively easily. You know what’s in space though? I can tell you. Nothing. There’s nothing in space but a stinky smell.
    “Astronaut Thomas Jones said it “carries a distinct odor of ozone, a faint acrid smell…a little like gunpowder, sulfurous.”
    So space smells like farts then? Great! How romantic? Let’s go!? Woo Hoo ! Hi fives all round!
    The only other thing that space is, is a safe vantage point from which to watch as a highly contagious and deadly virus kills us where we stand in our millions, perhaps billions.
    Here’s a novel and, what some might think of as a bizarre solution to c-19 and its mutating cousins? No more manned space jaunts by hyper rich, mad, bald, laughing man-weirdos in the company of attractive, giggling, floating, no doubt farting female sycophants?
    Russell Brand.
    Vaccine Mandates: This is what history warns us [of]

  7. well an editable pdf it’s almost like it’s designed to be circumvented, I mean who (name please) thought that was even vaguely a good idea? pensions should be lost for such MONUMENTAL STUPIDITY.
    and fining people after they’ve done their typhoid mary act achieves nothing the damage is done by then.
    Expecting retail or door staff to do the checking amounts to cowardice, let’s see jacinda et al, working the doors on courtney place if it’s gonna be that easy.

    if I was wearing my bacofoil fedora one might think the whole thing is designed to fail that way they can go ‘well we tried’….(just not very hard)

  8. As of Friday I’m unable to :

    (1) Go to a restaurant.
    (2) Go to a gym
    (3) Go to a bar
    (4) Go to my local hot pools

    However I can go to a mall and buy lots of crap.
    Amazing. So progressive

    • Well that makes two of you. You need to get out more. I know hundreds of thousands who have used the technology. Fascist would describe your personality type.

      • Oh so I’m a “fascist” for giving people the freedom to chose what medication they put in their bodies. Oh I see. Please Bert I hope you enjoy your new found “freedoms” flashing your gesundheitspass at the guards while sneering at the untermenchen lurking outside your exclusive coffee hangout, where you and your pharma fanbois can compare booster numbers.

        Jeez what a weird world we live in. I would actually be quite happy to catch the rona and die, anything to spare me from this nightmare.

        • “flashing your gesundheitspass at the guards while sneering at the untermenchen lurking outside your exclusive coffee hangout, where you and your pharma fanbois can compare booster numbers.”

          You prove my point and “I would actually be quite happy to catch the rona and die”, you may well get your wish with your black and white vision.

          Your mother mandated Rubella, Polio, mumps , measles etc etc on you, was she German too?


        • what about the rights of those the highly(well more highly infectious than the vaxxed) unvaxxed kill with their freedumbs? or do your rights count more than their rights? then were talking about competing political positions not rights and the antivax position is clearly a bad choice not a right.

          • I recommend Geerden vanden Bossch’s stuff. He is a vax researcher and has worked for GAVI and the Gates Foundation. He recommends *NOT* taking this particular vax

  9. “Who has ever heard of omricon”, asks Liz? Well actually us cryptic crossword nuts, its an anagram of “moronic”.

Comments are closed.