While Interpol had warned that vaccines would be the preferred target of criminal networks, “the authorities in South Africa have seized hundreds of fake vaccines against Covid-19”, said the international organization of police cooperation based in Lyon. Three Chinese nationals and a Zambian were arrested during this operation, carried out in Germiston (Gauteng province), which also allowed the discovery of a “large quantity of counterfeit masks”.
In addition, Interpol provided assistance to China, where the police “identified a sales network for counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines and took over the manufacturing premises, leading to the arrest of 80 suspects and the seizure of more of 3,000 false vaccines on the spot ”.
Only the tip of the iceberg
“Although we welcome this result, it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crime linked to the anti-Covid-19 vaccine,” said Interpol secretary general Jürgen Stock, cited in the press release. “These arrests underscore the unique role of Interpol in bringing together key players from both the public and private sectors to protect public safety,” added Mr. Stock.
Interpol again warns against unauthorized vaccines which are currently offered for sale on the Internet. “Any vaccine promoted on websites or on the ‘darknet’ will not be legitimate, will not have been tested and may be dangerous,” we warn.