SHANGHAI • Chinese police have arrested more than 80 people and confiscated over 3,000 fake doses of Covid-19 vaccine as part of a campaign to combat vaccine-related crimes, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The suspects had been carrying out the ruse since at least September last year, Xinhua said on Monday.
According to Xinhua, it has not been made public how many vaccines were sold, but police have traced where the vaccines ended up.
The fake vaccines were made by injecting saline into syringes, it said. The suspects may have intended to send the vaccines abroad, the government-backed Global Times newspaper reported, citing a source close to a major Chinese vaccine producer.
The police operation was carried out by police in many places including Beijing, Shanghai and the eastern province of Shandong, Xinhua said.
Countries around the world have been rolling out vaccine programmes in the hope of bringing the coronavirus pandemic to an end.
China is no stranger to vaccine scandals. In 2018, leading vaccine manufacturer Changsheng Bio-Technology was fined US$1.3 billion (S$1.73 billion) after regulators found its vaccines were sub-standard, which hugely damaged public trust in vaccines at the time.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE
VACCINE ‘PIRATES’ CAUGHT
Number of people police arrested in a drive to fight vaccine-related crimes.
Number of fake doses of Covid-19 vaccine confiscated.