Kuwaitis queue as officials verify their vaccination certificates before allowing entry to The Avenues Mall in Kuwait City, the country's largest shopping centre in a file photo.. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Three foreign nurses have been arrested in Kuwait and referred to prosecution for forging certificates issued for vaccination against COVID-10 in exchange for money, according to Kuwaiti media.

The trio – two Egyptians and an Indian — are suspected of falsely registering some people in the Health Ministry records claiming they had received the jabs against the virus and obtaining money from them for the illegal act.

During investigations, the three nurses admitted to have committed the offence and said only four people got the illegal service in return for money. Authorities are investigating the actual number of the people who benefitted from the act.

The three were arrested after police acted upon a tip-off that there was a ring of nurses involved in forging vaccination documents in return for money, working at Al Jahra hospital, a security source said.

“The three accused have taken advantage of fears harboured by some people of inoculation,” the source added. “They asked those people to register in the Health Ministry platform and used devious ways to expedite their vaccination dates. When their dates come around, those people got messages of having [falsely] received the first and then second doses of the vaccine, thus obtaining approved barcodes and inoculation certificates,” the source explained. The suspects will be deported from Kuwait, according to the source.

“What this gang did is a very serious act. They face several charges including forging official documents,” the source said.

Kuwait initiated mass vaccinations against COVID-19 in December and has since stepped up inoculation efforts to achieve herd immunity.

Since May 22 only Kuwaitis who received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been able to travel abroad. The government has recently amended the decision allowing only Kuwaitis who received both doses to travel outside the country as of August 1.