Fake COVID-19 vaccines hit the South African black market

March 8, 2021

Recently, 4 people were arrested for selling counterfeit jabs.

It didn’t take long for South African criminals to see an opportunity with COVID-19  vaccines. Recently, four people in Germiston were arrested after the police raided their warehouse where fake jabs were being stored. 

They had about 2 400 doses of the fake vaccines stored there. According to the officials, the crooks already started advertising the substances. At this stage, it is unclear whether they have actually sold any of the doses to members of the public. 

At the warehouse, police also found thousands of N95 face masks, which are worth millions of rands. 

The three Chinese nationals and one Zimbabian national are set to appear in court in May on charges of breaching the Counterfeit Goods Act, among others. 

The police have urged South Africans not to buy COVID-19 vaccines. The government will distribute official jabs to the public as part of its phased rollout for free. When buying fake vaccines on the black market, people have no idea what they are putting into their bodies and the effects could be disastrous. 

Further to this, every time someone buys fake drugs, they are funding underground syndicates and making it all the more difficult for the authorities to put an end to the distribution of potentially harmful material.

People are desperate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, reports also surfaced of citizens registering themselves as healthcare workers when they are, in fact, not really frontline staff just to be first in line to get vaccinated. 

South Africa’s vaccine drive has been slow. Estimates show that at the current rate, it would take years to immunise the entire country. Government is, however, confident that they have secured enough doses of the vaccine to speed up the program significantly by the second semester of the year.