Coronavirus Vaccine Latest Update: At a time when a number of companies are busy developing coronavirus vaccine for the deadly virus, the Interpol on Thursday warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet.
Issuing an orange alert to all 194 member countries, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to “the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines”.
“It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” a statement from the Interpol said.
Notably, the Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety. However, the CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol.
The warning from the Interpol comes after the UK became the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine.
In the orange alert, the Interpol further asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.
“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,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement.
“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning,” the official said.
The Interpol issued the alert after analysing that 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies are suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices. Around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware making such operators even more potent of causing financial and health harms.
(With inputs from PTI)