On Wednesday, the United Kingdom approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, and more nations are likely to soon follow. As the world pivots from vaccine development to vaccine distribution, the international law enforcement agency INTERPOL warns that organized crime will likely try to hoard doses of the vaccine.
"As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains," INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said in a news release.
INTERPOL has been sounding alarms over organized crime's interference in the coronavirus response for months, BuzzFeed News reports. Not only does this mean trying to hoard and hawk real COVID-19 vaccines, but also selling illicit or fraudulent vaccines, treatments, or "miracle cures" of their own.
"High demand combined with a limited supply will make COVID-19 vaccines the equivalent of liquid gold to organized crime networks as soon as one is available," Stock said in a previous news release warning against the same issues.
The warnings, BuzzFeed notes, align perfectly with the price gouging, cyberattacks, and medical scams that have also arisen during the pandemic. But interference with the distribution of an actual vaccine is a serious and dangerous threat, INTERPOL warns, as it could further delay measures to slow down the pandemic that's already killed nearly 1.5 million people worldwide
"It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine," Stock warned, "which is why Interpol has issued this global warning."
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