The International Criminal Police Organisation, INTERPOL, has warned against the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines online.
In a statement published on its website, the organisation said such products do not protect against COVID-19.
It added that members of the public that purchase such fake vaccines are at risk of serious health hazards.
The statement read: “With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, the risks to the public are clear: these can include buying a product which not only does not protect against COVID-19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected. Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked.
“Legitimate vaccines are not for sale. They are strictly administered and distributed by national healthcare regulators.
“Anyone buying these products online also runs the risk of potentially giving their money to organised criminals.”
The Secretary-General of the organisation, Jürgen Stock, said since the beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on the fears of unsuspecting members of the public to make quick cash.
Stock said, “From the very beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on people’s fears in order to make fast cash. Fake vaccines are the latest in these scams, which is why INTERPOL and HSI are warning the public to be extra vigilant.
“Anyone ordering a vaccine online rather than obtaining it from their national provider will be buying a fake product.
“The networks behind these crimes have global ambitions. No country or region can fight this type of crime alone. INTERPOL is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them.”
In December 2020, INTERPOL raised the alarm on the plan of the criminal gangs to produce and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines.