Interpol issues warning of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines from organized crime

Vaccine supply chain safety is paramount

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies in its 194 member states, warning them to prepare for organized crime groups targeting COVID-19 vaccinations, both physically and online. Reports indicate that organized criminals have become interested in the huge revenue potential of vaccinations in the context of a pandemic.
With billions of doses of vaccines needed, the vaccines have become one of the primary targets of organized crime.
“As governments are preparing to introduce vaccines, criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains,” Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said.
Interpol’s high-level alert draws attention to potential crimes related to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines, as the pandemic has triggered unprecedented, unscrupulous criminal action. Mafias are already warping to advertise, sell and even administer fake vaccines. As many officially developed COVID-19 vaccines move closer to licensing and global distribution, it is now essential for national authorities and intelligence services to maintain supply chain security and identify illicit websites selling counterfeit products, Interpol said in its warning.
Coordination between law enforcement and health regulators is also essential to protect the safety of individuals and the well-being of communities, Interpol emphasizes.
“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Stock said. “It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why Interpol has issued this global warning.”
In addition to the dangers of ordering potentially life-threatening products, an analysis by Interpol’s cybercrime unit revealed that out of 3,000 websites linked to online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit drugs and medical devices, some 1,700 contained cyber threats, mainly phishing and spam.
Title image: In this photo released by the Indonesian Presidential Palace, workers register boxes containing experimental coronavirus vaccines made by Chinese company Sinovac, after arriving at a facility of state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Indonesia’s government said more than a million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech arrived in the country late Sunday and more are expected to arrive in early January. (Indonesian Presidential Palace via AP)


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