Police warn against possible fake vaccines on sale

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Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2 400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national. (Photo: Interpol)
Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2 400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national. (Photo: Interpol)
  • The police have cautioned the public against falling into the trap of purchasing fake Covid-19 vaccines from criminals.
  • Four people are expected back in court in May after they were found in possession of doses of fake vaccines and fake N95 masks at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, last year.
  • The police said anyone purchasing unapproved and fake drugs was putting their health in danger.

The police have cautioned the public against purchasing fake vaccines from unscrupulous people looking to cash in on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The warning followed a raid on a warehouse and the apprehension of four people in Germiston, Gauteng, last year. They were found in possession of 400 doses of fake Covid-19 vaccines and fake N95 masks worth millions.

Police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said investigators feared the four accused, leading up to their arrest, had already advertised that a vaccine was on sale.

Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2 400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national. (Photo: Interpol)
vaccines
Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2 400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national. (Photo: Interpol)

"No approved vaccines are currently available for sale online or physically. Any person who buys these drugs is putting themselves at risk and giving their money to organised criminals.

"Police will continue to detect and investigate anyone involved in the organised syndicates trying to enrich themselves by smuggling and distributing unregistered and illicit medicine," added Muridili. 

The four accused - Zhang Jian, 30, Liang Pengcheng, 31, Chen Jianfu, 41 and Charles Chigwedere, 45 - made their most recent appearance in the Germiston Magistrate's Court on 19 February.

They were charged with the contravention of Counterfeit Goods Act, the Customs and Excise Act and Medicines and Related Substances Act.

Their case was postponed to 28 May for further investigation.

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