China arrests more than 80 people in ‘fake vaccine’ ring crackdown.
Police found that since September 2020, those involved “have been making huge profits by fulfilling saline solution into injectors to process and make fake coronavirus vaccines and selling them at a higher price”
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China has said it is cracking down on a crime ring making “fake vaccines” for Covid-19 that has been running since September, CNN citing a report from state media.
Police departments in Jiangsu, Beijing and Shandong have arrested more than 80 people involved in producing more than 3,000 fake Covid-19 vaccine doses, Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to Xinhua, China’s Ministry of Public Security is investigating crimes related to manufacturing and selling of counterfeit vaccines “and the illegal practice of medicine and fraud under the guise of the vaccines.”
Police found that since September 2020, those involved “have been making huge profits by fulfilling saline solution into injectors to process and make fake coronavirus vaccines and selling them at a higher price,” the agency said.
China has been vaccinating its population with shots from two companies, Sinovac and Sinopharm, and both have also been rolled out in other countries, including Turkey.
Both companies initially said their vaccines were more than 78% effective, but late-stage trials of the Sinovac candidate in Brazil reported an efficacy rate of 50.38%.
Sinovac has stood by its vaccine, even as some countries have placed it under review and paused rollouts, but scientists have called on the company to release more data.
Sinopharm, the state-owned company whose vaccine was the first to be approved in China, said its product was 79.34% effective in trials, according to CNN.
The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 31 January 2021, more than 102 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 2.22 million deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are highly variable, ranging from none to severe illness. The virus spreads mainly through the air when people are near each other.[b] It leaves an infected person as they breathe, cough, sneeze, or speak and enters another person via their mouth, nose, or eyes. It may also spread via contaminated surfaces. People remain infectious for up to two weeks, and can spread the virus even if they do not show symptoms.
Recommended preventive measures include social distancing, wearing face masks in public, ventilation and air-filtering, hand washing, covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing, disinfecting surfaces, and monitoring and self-isolation for people exposed or symptomatic.
Several vaccines are being developed and distributed. Current treatments focus on addressing symptoms while work is underway to develop therapeutic drugs that inhibit the virus. Authorities worldwide have responded by implementing travel restrictions, lockdowns, workplace hazard controls, and facility closures. Many places have also worked to increase testing capacity and trace contacts of the infected.
The responses to the pandemic have resulted in global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. It has led to the postponement or cancellation of events, widespread supply shortages exacerbated by panic buying, agricultural disruption and food shortages, and decreased emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Many educational institutions have been partially or fully closed. Misinformation has circulated through social media and mass media. There have been incidents of xenophobia and discrimination against Chinese people and against those perceived as being Chinese or as being from areas with high infection rates.