The International Criminal Police Organisation has just discovered the new criminal activity related to COVID-19 vaccine. More than 190 countries around the world including Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States have been alerted by Interpol on the threat from organised crime groups during upcoming COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. The alert includes the spread of fake vaccines and the theft of supplies by some criminal gangs.
Globally, countries have been requesting for vaccination against the deadly coronavirus. Currently, Nigeria has recorded over 67,000 COVID-19 infections with an associated death of over 1,000 victims, as reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
So far, the World Health Organisation has identified up to 49 “candidate vaccines” still at the stage of clinical trials in human being.
There is high level of hope regarding readiness of some of the vaccines. In fact, the two frontrunner vaccines, by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, have already reported 95% efficacy at phase 3 trials for their mRNA vaccine for preventing Covid-19 symptoms. Happily, no adverse effect or side effect occurs among thousands of volunteers.
Interpol observed there is increase criminal activities by some organised crime groups who began advertisement and sales of fake COVID-19 vaccines, mostly via the internet.
The Interpol Secretary-General, Jürgen Stock, therefore, expressed concern for coordination between health regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies to ensure both the safety of individuals and general wellbeing of societies are safeguard.
In a statement on Wednesday 2nd of December, 2020 titled, ‘Interpol warns of organised crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines’, Stock said, “As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains.
“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.
“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,” he added.
Based on investigation by Interpol as expressed by Stock, more than 3,000 websites and blogs associated with some online pharmacies are suspected of making sales of fake vaccines and medical devices as at now.
He, then, advised both citizens and residents of 194 member countries of Interpol to take specially careful cautions when securing medicines and medical equipment online.