Fake COVID Vaccine Distribution Network Dismantled After Interpol Alert

CREDIT: Interpol Press Centre

Fake COVID Vaccine Distribution Network Dismantled After Interpol Alert.

SOUTH AFRICAN authorities have seized hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines following a global alert issued by Interpol warning vaccines would be a prime target for criminal networks.

Some 400 ampoules – equivalent to around 2,400 doses – containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national.

In China, police successfully identified a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines, raided the manufacturing premises, resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects, and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene.

The investigation was supported and facilitated by Interpol’s Illicit Goods and Global Health (IGGH) Programme.

The arrests came just weeks after Interpol issued an Orange Notice warning law enforcement to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.

The alert also included details and images of genuine vaccines and authorized shipping methods provided by pharmaceutical companies to assist in the identification of fake vials.

“Whilst we welcome this result, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine-related crime,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock

“Following our warning that criminals would target the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, both on and offline, Interpol continues to provide its full support to national authorities working to protect the health and safety of their citizens.

“These arrests, underline the unique role of Interpol in bringing together key players from both the public and private sectors to protect public safety,” he concluded.

Investigations are continuing, and in addition to the arrests in South Africa and China, Interpol is also receiving additional reports of fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, such as nursing homes.

Interpol is again warning the public that no approved vaccines are currently available for sale online. Any vaccine being advertised on websites or the dark web, will not be legitimate, will not have been tested and may be dangerous.

Anyone who buys these drugs is putting themselves at risk and giving their money to organised criminals.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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