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article imageGlobal criminal networks dealing in fake COVID-19 vaccines

By Karen Graham     Mar 4, 2021 in World
Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, announced on Wednesday it had broken up a global criminal network smuggling vials of fake COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
About 2,400 doses of the fake COVID-19 vaccine in 400 vials were seized from a warehouse in Germiston, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Police there also recovered fake 3M masks and arrested two Chinese nationals and one Zambian national.
And CTV News Canada is reporting that in China, police arrested 80 suspects and 3,000 doses of fake COVID-19 vaccines were seized at a manufacturing facility. Interpol believes this is just a fraction of a much larger issue.
“Whilst we welcome this result, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine-related crime,” Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said in a statement.
Interpol has been tracking counterfeit vaccine smuggling networks for a number of months. In December of last year, it issued what it calls an "orange alert," notifying its 194 member countries that counterfeiting of both vaccine and coronavirus tests could be on the rise.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services issued warnings to the public in relation to the Interpol warning. The public was told to "ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites. If you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an official testing site."
Jürgen Stock, Interpol's secretary-general, is urging consumers to avoid purchasing anything advertised as a coronavirus vaccine on the internet.
"Any vaccine being advertised on websites or the dark web will not be legitimate, will not have been tested, and may be dangerous," he said in a statement. "Anyone who buys these drugs is putting themselves at risk and giving their money to organized criminals."
Stock added that "only the tip of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine-related crime." He also notes that the agency is looking into fake vaccine scams targeting nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.
More about covid vaccines, counterfeiit vaccines, Interpol red notice, criminal networks, China and Sout Africa
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