Pfizer confirms counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccines on sale in Mexico, Poland

*80 people in Mexico received counterfeit doses of vaccine, which appeared to have been physically harmless, yet offering no protection against the potentially deadly disease ravaging the country

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Though the liquid in the confiscated vials in Poland was earlier thought to be a cosmetic substance, US drugmaker Pfizer has confirmed that suspect doses of its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine that were seized in Mexico and Poland were indeed fake.

It was gathered that doses of the counterfeit Coronavirus vaccines were going for as much as $1,000 per shot.

COVID-19 vaccination

The Wall Street Journal reports at a clinic in Mexico, some 80 people received fake doses of the Pfizer drug, which though appeared to have been physically harmless, yet offering no protection against the potentially deadly disease ravaging the South American country.

The vaccine vials were found in beer coolers and were initially identified by fabricated lot numbers and expiration dates, Mexican officials said.

The liquid in the confiscated vials in Poland was a cosmetic substance, thought to be anti-wrinkle cream, the vaccine manufacturer said.

A Pfizer Spokesperson told ABC News: “We are cognizant that in this type of environment ─fuelled by the ease and convenience of e-commerce and anonymity afforded by the Internet─ there will be an increase in the prevalence of fraud, counterfeit and other illicit activity as it relates to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19,”

However, in February 2021, health authorities in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon had warned about “clandestine” sales of “alleged COVID vaccines” and urged people to not take them.

In March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also warned of “falsified” Pfizer vaccines found in Mexico, and subsequently, warned that the shots “may still be in circulation in the region.”

Pfizer tested the bogus vials and found they did not contain the two-shot vaccine it developed with BioNTech, thus confirming them as fake.

Lev Kubiak, Pfizer’s Head of Global Security, said the desperate need and the global shortfall in vaccine productions and supplies had led to the scams.

Kubiak told the Wall Street Journal: “We have a very limited supply, a supply that will increase as we ramp up and other companies enter the vaccine space.

“In the interim, there is a perfect opportunity for criminals.”

Mexico is also examining a shipment of 6,000 doses of what is claimed to be the Russian Vaccine ‘Sputnik’ that were seized on a private plane headed for Honduras in March, report said.

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