Corona vaccine counterfeits cause uncertainty
The number of coronavirus infections in Baden-Württemberg and throughout Germany continues to rise rapidly. The 7-day incidence in Germany is not far from the 200 mark. To break the third wave, the controversial Corona Emergency Brake for Germany has been passed by the Bundestag and now also by the Bundesrat. But one thing is clear: in the long run, more vaccinations are needed to cope with the pandemic.
On April 22, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn announced that vaccination prioritization in Germany* would be lifted at the end of June 2021. And experts also assume that Corona vaccinations could soon be available for everyone. The reason for so much optimism is the fact that the German government expects new vaccine deliveries in the coming weeks. But beware, vaccine counterfeits of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine have now been discovered in the EU.
Specifically, it's in Poland, where, according to reports from NTV, counterfeit Corona vaccines has been withdrawn from circulation. The major U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer confirmed that the seized glass vials with counterfeit labels do not contain Biontech/Pfizer's vaccine. Counterfeit vaccines have also surfaced in Mexico. Unlike in Poland, about 80 people there were vaccinated with the fake Biontech vaccine.
Corona vaccine from Biontech/Pfizer: probably anti-wrinkle cream instead of vaccine
The people in Mexico who were administered Biontech's fake vaccine do not seem to have suffered any health damage. The counterfeits of the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine seized in Poland probably contained a cosmetic substance instead of the vaccine; anti-wrinkle cream is suspected. On the US channel ABC, a Pfizer spokesperson commented on the vaccine counterfeits in Poland and Mexico.
"We are aware that in this type of environment - fueled by the ease and convenience of online commerce and the anonymity that the Internet offers - fraud, counterfeiting and other illegal activities related to vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 will increase," the Pfizer spokesperson explained on ABC. In fact, this is not the first time that counterfeits of Corona vaccines have caused uncertainty among the population.
According to Interpol, counterfeit vaccine doses have been seized several times in recent months, including in China and South Africa. Dozens of people have been arrested for the fake Corona vaccines, according to Interpol. The broadcaster NTV also reports that health authorities in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon had already warned about counterfeit Corona vaccines in February - so the problem is not unknown.
Incidentally, Biontech's Corona vaccine is not the only target of criminals. According to reports, Mexican customs had seized 5,775 doses of the Russian Corona vaccine Sputnik V on a private plane bound for Honduras in mid-March. The crew and passengers all had Honduran citizenship and had been arrested, Mexico Customs announced at the time. The Sputnik V fakes were exposed at the time by spelling errors in the name of the vaccine in Cyrillic script, which had been printed on the labels of the ampoules.