Earlier it was a rush for the right vaccine candidate, but now there are fake vaccines also doing rounds. In Mexico, six people were recently arrested for dealing with the sale of fake vaccines.
The arrest, the federal Public Safety Department said was made in the northern border state of Nuevo León. They declined to confirm the nature of the fake shots or whether they had been offered for sale.
But according to Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, the fakes were presented as Pfizer vaccines. These have been doing rounds only in Mexico. Original vaccines are available only through government vaccination teams. It has been confirmed that the suspects have offered the vaccines for sale for the equivalent of around $2,000 per dose.
Due to the nature of levels of poverty and economic hardship in Mexico, cases of theft of medical equipment are common. But the theft of vaccines and duplication has come to light for the first time.
Fake Covid-19 vaccine scam has been recently busted in the country where the virus originated. The leader of a multi-million dollar scam known as Kong was passing off the saline solution and mineral water as Covid-19 vaccines. He was recently arrested in China. Since August 2020, Kong and his team made a profit of 18 million yuan ($2.78 million) by putting saline solution or mineral water in syringes and hawking them as Covid vaccines.
The European Union has also set of a warning against fake vaccine doses. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) said it was aware of reports of fraudsters seeking to sell vaccines in the EU, including the fake ones.
Since its investigation from March 2020, OLAF has identified over 1,000 suspicious operations and seize over 14 million items, including faulty facemasks and fake test kits. The fact that nations are running desperately to get their populations inoculated, there is a chance that fraudulent vaccine doses might start doing rounds through vendors, if not in the open market. India has tackled a unique case of data theft through a fraudulent website claiming to be the right one for inoculation registration.
It is a hotbed for fakes and would have to work doubly harder to prevent its eager and uneducated population from not getting caught in the web of fake vaccines.