LYON (France): Interpol has issued a global alert to the law enforcement agencies across its 194-member countries warning them to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Interpol, which is headquartered in France said that its orange notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the "falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines", with the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour.
It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines. "As a number of COVID-19 vaccines come closer to approval and global distribution, ensuring the safety of the supply chain and identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential," it warned. "The need for coordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies will also play a vital role to ensure the safety of individuals and wellbeing of communities are protected," the Interpol said. Jurgen Stock, Interpol Secretary General said: "As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organizations 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," Stock said. With an increasing amount of COVID-related frauds, Interpol is also advising members of the public to take special care when going online to search for medical equipment or medicines. (IANS)