More and more reports of falsified COVID-19 vaccines are being reported around the world.
With COVID-19 vaccines being approved for use in different parts of the globe, the scale and complexity of their manufacture, allocation and distribution globally will be unprecedented. This will also present corruption risks that may threaten vital public health goals. These risks include the entry of substandard and falsified vaccines into markets. The high demand and shortfall in supply of COVID vaccines have created a perfect ecosystem for criminals to exploit unsuspecting consumers with their fake vaccines. The UNODC published a policy paper with a solid global framework to safe guard public health.
- In the US, cybersecurity experts found that more than 4,500 new suspicious domains were discovered in the month after vaccines were announced, containing keywords such as “Covid-19”, “corona”, “vaccine” and “cure Covid”.
- In the UK, a man falsely charged a 92-year-old woman £160 to be injected with a fake COVID-19 vaccine. He was later arrested.
- In Nigeria, authorities have warned against the circulation of fake coronavirus vaccines in the country, where 10 million real doses of the shots are expected in March. The country is on high alert as it awaits delivery on the genuine vaccines.
- In Switzerland, health regulator Swissmedic warned the nation of criminals selling dangerous fake coronavirus vaccines on the internet, as vaccination programmes are well underway.
- In China, police arrested more than 80 people and confiscated over 3,000 fake doses of Covid-19 vaccines.