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INTERPOL warns against fake, theft of COVID-19 Vaccines

NEWSMAN, Abuja – International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has alerted Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and other countries over threats from organised criminal groups to sell fake vaccines and steal supplies during the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

Interpol observes that there is a rise in the activities of fake drug peddlers, who have started advertising and selling fake COVID-19 vaccines, especially on virtual platforms.

Its secretary-general, Jürgen Stock, therefore, stressed the need for coordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies to ensure the safety of individuals and wellbeing of communities are protected.

According to him, 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies are suspected of selling fake medicines and medical devices.

“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”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified 49 “candidate vaccines” at the stage of clinical trials in humans.

The need for a vaccine has become more crucial with Nigeria recording over 67,000 COVID-19 infections, according to the latest data released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer have reported that phase 3 trials for their mRNA vaccine showed 95 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID-19 symptoms and did not produce adverse side effects among thousands of volunteers.

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