Connect with us


Organized Criminals Are Targeting Covid-19 Vaccines, Interpol Warns




(Photo by Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images)

TOPLINE As governments around the world begin to approve and roll out Covid-19 vaccines, the international police agency Interpol issued a warning Wednesday of an oncoming “onslaught” of criminal activity, both online and physically, linked to Covid-19 vaccines.


In the notice, which was sent out to authorities in 194 countries, the agency warned that organized crime networks are “planning to infiltrate or disrupt [vaccine] supply chains,” possibly selling fake vaccines and targeting unsuspecting members of the public with fake websites and products. 

It said the pandemic has “already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour” and that it is “essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible” for the imminent “onslaught of all types of criminal activity.” 

As well as targeting vaccines, the agency predicts “a parallel production and distribution of unauthorized and falsified testing kits” and a proliferation of online scams. 

The agency warned that criminals would also be targeting flu vaccines, and urged close cooperation between health and police authorities in order to safeguard the public.


As Covid-19 vaccines start to be approved and distributed around the world, the big question is who will get them first. To begin with, and likely well into 2021, supplies will fall far short of demand, even in the countries that have preemptively bought up most of the world’s supplies. Numerous countries will be prioritizing at-risk groups and frontline medical workers and many more will struggle to get any vaccines at all, leaving ample room for exploitation by criminals. 


1,700. Interpol’s Cybercrime Unit found that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats like phishing and malware.


The U.K. became the first country to clinically approve a Covid-19 vaccine Wednesday, authorizing Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use. A decision in the U.S. is expected next week. 


U.K. Grants Emergency Approval Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 Vaccine, The First Country To Do So (Forbes)

Here’s Why The U.K. Beat The U.S. To Approve A Covid-19 Vaccine For Emergency Use (Forbes)

-By Robert Hart, Forbes Staff