A academic article published in February 2022 by Pierre Saliou, Quentin Duteil, Stanley A. Plotkin and Marc Gentilini  discusses the recent but growing phenomenon of fake vaccines trafficking, which represents a severe threat to public health. Authors explain how during the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-COVID vaccines have been a prime target for traffickers, but all types of vaccines are falsified by profit-hungry criminals.

The consequences of falsification on global health are serious: the decline in vaccination coverage, loss of control of epidemics which will claim yet more victims, and resurgence of diseases that were under control. Fake vaccines also fuel the mistrust of populations towards science and authorities.

In order to tackle this scourge, a general and coordinated mobilization of all actors concerned is urgently needed: health professionals, political decision-makers, police and customs forces, judges and prosecutors, without forgetting the crucial awareness-raising of public opinion.

The study concludes that falsification of vaccines is a significant problem in developing countries and must be attacked by all possible means, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plague of falsified vaccines will not disappear with an end to the pandemic and will exist unless authorities throughout the world take vigorous steps to counter it.

Read the full report here.