Criminals could target vaccine supply chains or create fakes, Interpol warns
Organised crime gangs could steal COVID-19 vaccines or create their own fake versions to profit from the pandemic, Interpol have warned.
The global police agency said criminals could target supply chains or sell bogus COVID-19 jabs online when more vaccines are approved internationally.
It has issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them to be vigilant.
“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,” said Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock.
Interpol also said gangs could try and profit from fake coronavirus testing kits and has warned consumers to do their research.
There are over 170 coronavirus vaccines in development across the globe, but there are a handful of frontrunners which are in the last stages of checks and could soon become available.
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, with jabs expected to be given from next week.
A spokesperson from Pfizer said the company has taken strict measures to protect the vaccines during transport.
A British/Swedish group from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has also submitted their vaccine for approval in the UK.
Meanwhile, scientists from American company Moderna are seeking approval from US and EU regulators to allow emergency use of their jab.
Russia has announced it will begin large-scale vaccinations with its jab called Sputnik V next week, and the Chinese military has approved another one made by CanSino Biologics.
Experts have agreed multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, with cases rising in the US and Europe.