Washington, April 22 2021: Spurious doses of the Pfizer/BionTech corona virus vaccine have been making the rounds in Mexico and Poland. This has been confirmed by the company who tested some of the “shots”.
Local health authorities seized some of the doses of the fake vaccine stored within beer coolers, with a single dose costing as much as $1000 according to US media. In Mexico, some 80 people received a dose of the fake shot in a clinic. The fake drug was physically harmless though it offered no protection against the virus. The lots were initially identified based on fake lot numbers and expiration dates.
In Poland, the liquid in the confiscated vials was a cosmetic substance, thought to be anti-wrinkle cream, the company said. A Pfizer spokesperson said the environment of desperation and the ease of procuring everything on the internet meant the purveyors of the fake vaccine remained anonymous while the market demand was high enough for the fake products to be absorbed.
Earlier this year, in February, Mexican state health authorities in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon warned about secret black-market sales of fake Covid vaccines and urged people not to take them. The WHO in March warned against false versions of the Pfizer vaccine present in Mexico.
According to Lev Kubiak, Pfizer’s head of global security, the desperate need and the shortfall in vaccines had led to the scams. The world has an as yet limited supply of the vaccines, the virus is not yet under control in most of the world, and till other companies enter the space and ramp up production, potential consumers will continue to be exposed to the fraud.
In addition to the fake Pfizer vaccine doses, Mexico is also examining a shipment of what is claimed to be the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and was seized on a private plane headed for Honduras.
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