My staff caught the moment when Jacquelin C and her husband of 55 years, Danny, found out she won $25,000 as part of #VaxNevadaDays. #COVID19 vaccines are free, safe and effective. Find out more at NVCOVIDFighter.org. pic.twitter.com/wluvui2WxO
Earlier this year, I worked with White Memorial Hospital & others to build facilities with ample resources to treat COVID-19 patients. This facility now offers more vaccines than beds, showing how far we've come. But the fight isn't over. Let's get vaccinated, L.A. pic.twitter.com/hIZQ0Or26n
OMG—A homeopathic doctor was arrested & first person federally charged for fraud for selling fake vaccines & cards—selling “immunization pellets” claiming to provide “lifelong immunity”, & falsely claimed #COVID19 vaccines contained “toxic ingredients”. 🔥 www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/15/covid-vaccine-passport-card/ pic.twitter.com/8qQ46CWr5L
Damn! Los Angeles is reimposing an indoor mask mandate a/o Saturday night for all. Get it together folks - and get vaccinated!
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A Napa doctor has been arrested on suspicion of providing fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and so-called immunization pills, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The case is the first federal criminal fraud prosecution in the U.S. related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fraudulent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccination record cards, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Federal agents were seen Wednesday removing boxes and sifting through the home of licensed homeopathic doctor Juli A. Mazi, 41. She's accused of providing COVID-19 vaccination record cards to patients and instructing them on how to fill them out to make it appear they'd received the Moderna vaccine, according to the DOJ.
Mazi is also accused of selling her patients what she called "immunization pellets" that she said contained small amounts of COVID-19. She falsely claimed the pills would give people immunity from the coronavirus, according to the DOJ.
To encourage customers to buy the pellets, Mazi is accused of falsely claiming the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain "toxic ingredients."
She has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements "related to health care matters," a DOJ news release says.
"This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk. Even worse, the defendant allegedly created counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards and instructed her customers to falsely mark that they had received a vaccine, allowing them to circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease," Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a prepared statement.
Mazi could face a total of up to 25 years in prison if convicted of both charges.
Before selling the pellets for COVID-19, the DOJ said Mazi had offered homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses that she falsely claimed would satisfy the immunization requirements for California schools. She also falsified immunization cards that were submitted by parents to California schools, according to federal prosecutors.
Mazi is not the first Californian to be accused of selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Back in May, a San Joaquin County bar owner was arrested on suspicion of selling bogus cards.
The DOJ says people with information about fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.
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15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
Juli Mazi of Napa, Calif., also sold “immunization pellets” to patients, federal prosecutors said.
A homeopathic doctor in California is the first person to face federal charges for selling fake Covid-19 vaccination cards, the authorities said.
The doctor, Juli A. Mazi of Napa, Calif., also sold Covid-19 “immunization pellets” to patients, federal prosecutors said. She was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters, according to a criminal complaint. Ms. Mazi faces up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, the authorities said.
Ms. Mazi sold pellets for $243 that she said contained a “very minute amount” of the coronavirus that would trigger an immune response and provide “lifelong immunity to Covid-19,” the complaint said. To encourage customers to purchase the pellets, prosecutors said, Ms. Mazi falsely told them that the three Covid-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States contained “toxic ingredients.”
She also offered homeopathic immunizations for childhood illnesses that she falsely claimed would satisfy immunization requirements for California schools, according to the complaint.
Ms. Mazi could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer.
She describes herself on her website as a naturopathic doctor who received her doctorate from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore. She is trained in “traditional medical sciences” and “ancient and modern modalities” that use nature to heal, the site says.
She also offers “classical homeopathy,” a medical system developed more than 200 years ago in Germany. It uses the theory that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms, and the notion that medications are more effective at minimum dosages, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for illnesses, the center said, citing a 2015 assessment by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council. A number of concepts in homeopathy are not consistent with fundamental scientific concepts, the center said.
The authorities began investigating Ms. Mazi after someone filed a complaint in April saying that relatives had purchased the Covid-19 immunization pellets from her and that they had not received any of the approved Covid-19 vaccinations. In addition to the pellets, prosecutors said, Ms. Mazi also sent the family Covid-19 vaccination cards that listed Moderna. She instructed them to mark the cards to falsely state that they received the vaccine on the date they ingested the pellets.
It’s unclear how many people purchased Covid-19 immunization pellets from Ms. Mazi, but she received more than $200,000 through Square, a digital payment processing company, from January 2020 to May 2021, the complaint said. A majority of the transactions did not indicate the purpose of the payments, but 25 transactions amounting to more than $7,500 were noted to indicate that they were for Covid-19 treatments, according to the complaint.
“This defendant allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about F.D.A.-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk,” Lisa O. Monaco, deputy attorney general, said in a statement. She added that the use of false vaccination cards allowed people to “circumvent efforts to contain the spread of the disease.”
Steven J. Ryan, special agent in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, said the department would continue to investigate “fraudsters” who mislead the public.
“This doctor violated the all-important trust the public extends to health care professionals — at a time when integrity is needed the most,” he said in a statement.
In May, the authorities in California arrested the owner of a bar on charges that he had sold fake Covid-19 vaccination cards at his business. There are also concerns that people sharing photographs of their vaccination card, complete with their name and birth date, could make themselves vulnerable to identity theft or scams.
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
The U.S. Department of Justice said Juli Mazi of Napa also distributed fake vaccination cards to make it appear that customers had received the Moderna vaccine.
Officials say this is the first prosecution of its kind.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint to the Department of Health and Human Services hotline in April. Prosecutors say Mazi sold homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets she fraudulently claimed would provide “lifelong immunity to COVID-19.”
It was not immediately known if Mazi had a lawyer who could speak on her behalf.
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15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
Juli A. Mazi, 41, sold “immunization pellets” that she claimed would provide “lifelong immunity” to covid, telling customers the purported treatments contained trace amounts of the disease, according to the Justice Department. She falsely claimed the coronavirus vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration contained “toxic ingredients,” U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday.
It was not clear if Mazi had legal representation. A message left with her office was not immediately returned.
The Moderna lot numbers used on the cards were genuine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to federal investigators. But the CDC and the California Department of Public Health have no record of Mazi receiving or administering FDA-authorized vaccines.
“Even though it’s more than an ethical stretch that I’m happy about, I am just stepping up to the plate to offer these,” Mazi said in a recorded phone call, according to investigators.
Mazi “allegedly defrauded and endangered the public by preying on fears and spreading misinformation about FDA-authorized vaccinations, while also peddling fake treatments that put people’s lives at risk,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
“Even worse,” Monaco added, the counterfeit vaccine cards allowed customers to “circumvent efforts to contain the spread” of the virus.
Federal authorities learned of the alleged scheme in April from a person whose family members had purchased homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets from Mazi, the complaint said.
The remedy, which involves exposure to small amounts of a disease to try building immunity, is “very different” from standard models for immune development like approved vaccines, according to a 2015 article in the medical journal Paediatrics & Child Health.
Mazi provided the tipster’s family members with vaccine cards and instructed them to write that they received Moderna shots on the date they ingested the pellets, according to prosecutors. She did not administer doses of the three U.S.-approved coronavirus vaccines to those people.
After the tipster bought pellets over the phone from Mazi for $243, the homeopathic doctor allegedly said the same dosage of pellets could be used for babies, adding they could be used to help circumvent other school vaccine mandates in California.
Prosecutors allege Mazi gave the tipster’s family members a letter about the pellets, which stated that “because this is an energy medicine, people can sometimes experience an energetic response, like a mild immune response similar to those symptoms which the disease might provoke.”
It also warned against touching the pellets, “as the medicines can rub off on your fingers.”
Between January 2020 and May 21, 2021, Mazi received $221,817 in payments on Square, a digital payment processor, investigators found. While most of the transactions did not specify what the payments were for, 25 transactions totaling $7,653 were noted as payments for covid treatments.
Articles on Mazi’s website promote how “herbs and spices” can be used to help treat liver ailments. The website presents her as a primary care provider who treats conditions from ear infections to ADHD to autoimmune disorders.
The owner of a bar in California’s Central Valley was arrested in May on state charges including alleged identity theft and the forging of government documents.
Fraudulent vaccine cards have also been spotted on online platforms like eBay. Though several countries around the world have issued digital “vaccine passports,” paper cards remain the main proof of vaccination across much of the United States.
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
Updated 7:01 PM ET, Thu July 15, 2021
CNN's Amir Vera contributed to this report.
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
15 July, 2021 - 10:24pm
Will COVID-19 vaccines work if I have a weak immune system?
Probably not as well as they do in healthy people, but the shots should offer some protection.
It’s why vaccinations are still recommended for people with immune systems weakened by disease or certain medications. It’s also important that your family, friends and caregivers get vaccinated, which will make it far less likely that they pass on the virus.
About 3% of U.S. adults have weakened immune systems. Among them are people with HIV or AIDS, transplant recipients, some cancer patients and people with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.
COVID-19 shots weren’t studied in large numbers of people with weak immune systems. But limited data and experience with flu and pneumonia vaccines suggest they won’t work as well as they do in others. That means people with weakened immune systems should keep taking precautions like wearing masks and avoiding large crowds.
“It’s prudent to use all the precautions you were using before you were vaccinated,” said Dr. Ajit Limaye, a transplant expert at University of Washington Medicine in Seattle.
Although most cancer patients should get vaccinated as soon as they can, people getting stem cell transplant or CAR T-cell therapy should wait at least three months after treatment to get vaccinated, according to guidance from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. That delay will make sure the vaccines work as well as they can.
For transplant recipients, researchers are looking at whether an extra dose might make the vaccines more effective.
French guidelines recommend a third COVID-19 dose for the immunocompromised, including organ recipients. Israel recently began giving an extra dose of the Pfizer vaccine to transplant patients and others with weak immune systems. Some U.S. transplant recipients seek out a third dose on their own in hopes of more protection even though the federal government hasn’t authorized extra vaccinations.
15 July, 2021 - 10:37am
Juli Mazi is facing one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements related to health care matters in what officials described as the “first federal criminal prosecution related to homeoprophylaxis immunizations and fake COVID-immunization records.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched an investigation into the 41-year-old doctor from Napa in April, after a person reported her for selling the alleged coronavirus treatment to a family member. According to court documents, the licensed homeopathic care provider offered “homeoprophylaxis immunization pellets” she claimed “contained the COVID-19 virus and would create an antibody response in the immune system.”
She allegedly told customers the pellets would provide “lifelong immunity to COVID-19,” explaining that they carried a “very minute amount of this [COVID-19] disease.” In written documents, she added the treatment can result in “infectious symptoms” of coronavirus or “automatically flag the immune system’s attention, inducing immunity.”
Mazi is also accused of giving out fake vaccine cards in a bid to prove its holder received both Moderna jabs. The complainant told authorities their family member received a card despite not getting the shot and were told to date the card the same day they ingested the pellets.
According to court documents, the suspect also previously offered homeoprophylaxis immunizations for childhood illnesses, which she claimed fulfilled health requirements outlined by California schools. In these instances she also provided fake vaccine cards, which were submitted by parents to some area schools. Prosecutors contend she used the pandemic to further this illegal practice.
“Steering through the challenges presented by COVID-19 requires trust and reliance on our medical professionals to provide sage information and guidance,” Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds for the Northern District of California said in a statement.
“According to the complaint, instead of disseminating valid remedies and information, Juli Mazi profited from unlawfully peddling unapproved remedies, stirring up false fears, and generating fake proof of vaccinations. We will act to protect trust in the medical developments that are enabling us to emerge from the problems presented by the pandemic.”