South Africans warned against fake COVID-19 vaccines

The South African government has warned of illegitimate COVID-19 vaccines being sold online and on the dark web.

“The public is warned that no approved vaccines are currently available for sale online,” the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said in a tweet.

The government assured South Africans it would not allow any vaccines to be resold on the black market.

“South Africans will not have to pay for vaccinations against COVID-19 and the government would not allow anyone to sell it on the black market.”

“Any vaccine being advertised on websites or the dark web, is not legitimate, not tested and may be dangerous,” it added.

“Anyone who buys these drugs is putting themselves at risk and giving their money to organised criminals.”

The government reminded South Africans that it has put in place an Electronic Vaccine Data System that aims to ensure that those who are vaccinated are contactable and alerted to optimise adherence to the vaccination regimen.

Fake COVID-19 vaccine bust

Yesterday, South African police seized 400 doses of a fake COVID-19 vaccine at a warehouse in Germiston, along with a large number of fake masks.

Three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national were arrested as part of the bust.

“Since COVID-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach,” said South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo.

“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.”

The advent of fake COVID-19 vaccines being sold on the black market is also a significant problem in China.

“In China, police successfully identified a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines, raided the manufacturing premises, resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects, and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene,” INTERPOL said in a statement

INTERPOL said it was also receiving additional reports of fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, such as nursing homes.

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South Africans warned against fake COVID-19 vaccines