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Pfizer warns of fake Covid shots after counterfeits are seized in Mexico and Poland

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Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
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<p>Empty vials of a Covid vaccine</p> (EPA)

Empty vials of a Covid vaccine

(EPA)

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has warned of the increasing availability of fake Covid shots, with the first cases reported in Mexico and Poland.

The firm told The Wall Street Journal of the cases on Wednesday, which reported that dozens of people have been arrested in the scheme.

In Mexico, around 80 people paid $1,000 (£717) for a single counterfeit Pfizer shot from a clinic in the state of Nuevo León, the Journal reported.

The vials containing the counterfeiter Pfizer vaccines were packaged with fake branding, according to the report, and there were no reports of adverse side effects from the 80 people who were injected.

Dr. Manuel de la O, the health secretary of the state in northeastern Mexico, told the Journal that the shots were found in a beer cooler, along with a lot number different from the Pfizer shots delivered to the state by Mexican authorities.

The expatriation date on the fake Pfizer were also different from the true vaccines.

In Poland, authorities found the counterfeit Pfizer shots before anybody was injected with the products, which were reportedly branded as a treatment for wrinkles. The fake shots were reportedly seized from a man’s apartment.

In a statement, Pfizer told The Independent that the firm "identified counterfeit versions of its Covid-19 vaccine in Mexico and Poland," and warned of further incidents.

"We are cognisant 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," Pfizer said.

The statement went on to say that no Pfizer vaccines were sold online, and were available only through national healthcare providers at present — as are other Covid vaccines, manufactured by Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer added that it was working with "governments, law enforcement, healthcare providers and others to combat this illegal trade”.

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