Interpol Seizes Fake Coronavirus Vaccines in China and South Africa

International police agency has revealed that 400 vials of vaccine doses were recovered from a warehouse in South Africa.

The international police agency said in a statement on Wednesday that 400 vials, equivalent to about 2,400 doses, containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston outside Johannesburg in South Africa, where officers also recovered fake masks and arrested three Chinese citizens and a Zambian national.

“Since COVID-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach,” said Brigadier Vish Naidoo, South African national police spokesperson, according to the Interpol statement.

“This, together with our association with counterparts from all Interpol member countries, is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa.”

In China, Interpol in conjunction with local police also discovered a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines.

Police raided the manufacturing premises resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene, according to the report.

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to vaccine security. Chinese police are conducting a targeted campaign to prevent and crackdown on crimes related to vaccines,” a spokesman for the Chinese ministry of public security said.

“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 Juergen Stock.

Interpol said it was also receiving additional reports of fake vaccine distribution at nursing homes.

“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,” the statement said.

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

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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