While Covid-19 vaccines are becoming more available, there are still many limitations to who can receive them. INTERPOL issued an “Orange Notice” due to organized crimes surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

Thousands of counterfeit doses of vaccines have been seized by Security Officials in China and South Africa. An estimated 2,400 doses of fake vaccine was found outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Brigadier Vish Naidoo, South African national police spokesperson, claims they adopted a multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach since COVID-19 made its way to South Africa. “This, together with our association with counterparts from all INTERPOL member countries, is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa.”

Meanwhile, police arrested around 80 individuals in China who were identified as part of a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines. More than 3,000 fake vaccines were seized in China during the raids. A spokesman for the Chinese ministry of public security said, “The Chinese government attaches great importance to vaccine security. Chinese police are conducting a targeted campaign to prevent and crack down on crimes related to vaccines.”

Similar situations have also arisen in Germany, where thefts, warehouse break-ins, and attacks on vaccine shipments have been occurring weekly. Fake vaccine distributions have also been found in nursing homes and other communities. Juergen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General, warns against purchasing vaccines online as they are not legitimate and may be dangerous. Until the vaccine is available for everyone, organized crimes may continue to hinder the process.

Written by, Rita Daniel, Intern