In this era where there is a high demand for COVID-19 vaccines, criminal gangs are seeking to take advantage of circumstances to make money by producing fake vaccines.
According to Interpol, recently Police in China and South Africa have seized thousands of doses of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines, and have arrested dozens.
Chinese police have arrested 80 people at a factory where an alleged fake vaccine was being made, at least 3,000 doses were founded.
South African police have also detained 3 Chinese nationals and a Zambian at a warehouse in Gauteng, where ampoules containing 2,400 doses of the fake vaccine were discovered.
South Africa made the discovery in late last year after Police found a warehouse containing several hundreds of fake ampoules of COVID-19 vaccines and counterfeit masks estimated at RR6m. Interpol in a statement said it was also getting reports of other fake vaccine rings.
According to data from John Hopkins University, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the loss of 2.5 million lives worldwide and about 115 million people have been infected.
Interpol has stressed that no approved vaccines were “currently available for sale online.”
Police uncovered 400 vials, which is equivalent to 2,400 doses, of fake vaccine, as well as a large quantity of fake 3M masks. Interpol released the image of the warehouse online.
South African Police national spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, has said that cooperation with Interpol member states is proving very effective in stopping the production of fake vaccines, as evidence by the arrest of people peddling fake vaccines.
A spoke person for the Chinese Ministry of Public security said Police were conducting a “targeted campaign to prevent and crackdown on crimes related to vaccines”, and is willing to cooperate with Police in other countries to effectively prevent such crimes.
Last month, China arrested Kong, the leader of a multi-million-dollar scam that passed off a saline solution and mineral water as COVID-19 vaccines. Kong researched packaging designs of real vaccines and replicated them on his own doses, which were more than 58,000.
According to a court ruling, Kong and his team made a profit of 18 million yuan ($2.78 million/ £2 million) by putting saline solution and mineral water in syringes and hawking them as COVID vaccines.
It was also noted that some of the fake vaccines were smuggled overseas, but the country is unknown.
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