Recently, the Chinese authorities declared a crackdown on criminal networks involved in the manufacture of fake vaccines for COVID-19 and reported that some of the drugs had been distributed to other countries.
The suspects arrested is suspected of receiving illegal income totaling approximately 18 million yuan (approximately $2.78 million).
According to a Feb. 15 report by Chinese state media Xinhua, as of Feb. 10, 21 vaccine-related cases were being investigated across the nation, with 70 suspects arrested.
Suspects made enormous profits in the early stages of China’s vaccine rollout, the study said, by developing fake vaccines, selling and reselling them at high rates, and inoculating groups without permission.
Some of the Chinese-made fake vaccines were allegedly transported to Shenzhen from Tianjin and then smuggled through Hong Kong to other countries. Xinhua declined to identify the nations.
The criminal rings reportedly obtained prefilled syringes or packaged saline solution or mineral water into fake vaccines (when saline solution was out of stock). They then formed emergency inoculation centers illegally.
The suspects reported that “genuine COVID-19 shots obtained through internal channels” were theirs.
They put ads to solicit customers on social media. To pose as legitimate vaccine distributors, they even faked employee credentials, overseas work certificates, air tickets, and other supporting documents.
In one case, suspects arranged for about 500 doses of fake shots to be obtained by more than 200 individuals, making a profit of 547,000 yuan (about $84,695) as of December 2020.
Others benefited from a plan to arrange for people to be inoculated at hospitals by emergency vaccination services. At the time, the Chinese regime required the vaccine to be taken only by high-risk populations. The perpetrators were charging money for individuals to have access to actual vaccine shots.
Lu Jun, co-founder of the Beijing Yirenping Nonprofit Center, told Radio Free Asia that officially-approved organizations frequently participate in illegal activity in China.
In the vaccine procurement, distribution, and transportation process, either licensed manufacturers developed sub-standard vaccines, or governmental anti-epidemic agencies committed irregularities or even illegal operations,” Lu said.”
He cited a controversy that erupted in 2010, after it was discovered that a pharmaceutical company in Shanxi Province manufactured sub-standard vaccines, which resulted in local deaths. According to an investigation by the China Economic Times, the company worked with the government of Shanxi to distribute the vaccines throughout the province.