Pfizer says they have identified counterfeit versions of its COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico and Poland. The doses were seized by authorities in those countries and confirmed by tests to be fake.
In Mexico, the doses had fake labels, Pfizer told the Wall Street Journal, and the doses in Poland were believed to actually contain anti-wrinkle treatment.
"We are cognizant that in this type of environment -- fueled 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," a Pfizer spokesperson said in a statement.
Authorities in the Mexico state of Nuevo Leon say they found three empty vials of fake Pfizer doses, suggesting about 15 people had gotten the shots from those vials alone.
The fake doses were being offered on social media for up to $2,500 a shot. Several people were arrested in connection with the fake doses in Mexico.
In Poland, the counterfeit vaccine doses were found at a man’s apartment. No one had received any of them.
Here in the U.S., federal cybersecurity officials have seized several websites for posing as biotech companies offering coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Allegedly, these sites were collecting personal information for “nefarious” reasons.
Pfizer is warning the public not to trust online vendors selling the vaccine, and to only get the vaccine at an official vaccination center or certified health care provider.