Police in China and South Africa have seized thousands of counterfeit doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the global police organization Interpol said on Wednesday, warning that this is just the “tip of the iceberg” in vaccine-related crimes.
Lyon-based Interpol reported that 400 vials – equivalent to about 2,400 doses – of counterfeit vaccine were found in a warehouse in Germiston near Johannesburg in South Africa, where officials also found counterfeit masks and arrested three Chinese and a Zambian national.
In China, police have successfully identified a network selling counterfeit Covid-1
They stormed the production facilities, resulting in the arrest of about 80 suspects and the seizure of more than 3,000 counterfeit vaccines on the spot, the statement said.
Earlier this year, Interpol issued Orange Notice alerts around the world to prepare for organized crime networks targeting Covid-19 vaccines, both physically and online.
“While we welcome this result, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crimes related to the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stoke.
Interpol said that in addition to the arrests in South Africa and China, it was receiving additional reports of the spread of a fake vaccine and attempted fraud targeting health authorities such as nursing homes.
He warned that there are no approved vaccines for sale online.
“Any vaccine that is advertised on websites or the dark web will not be legitimate, will not be tested and can be dangerous.”
Stoke warned in December in an interview with the German weekly WirtschaftsWoche about the sharp rise in crime due to the introduction of vaccines, with thefts and burglaries in warehouses and attacks on shipments of vaccines.