OTTAWA | Organized crime could attack the distribution network of valuable COVID-19 vaccines, warn international law enforcement agencies.
“As governments prepare to distribute vaccines, criminal organizations plan to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains,” INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock warned in a statement.
The international criminal police organization has sent a global alert to its 194 member countries, including Canada, urging them to prepare for criminal networks to attack vaccines.
“We will stop at nothing to ensure that vaccines intended for Canada are safe and protected,” said Federal Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, stressing that we are relying on the expertise of Major General Dany Fortin, responsible for logistics. surrounding vaccination in the country, and 30 other military personnel.
Due to the enormous demand for this commodity that INTERPOL describes as “liquid gold”, it will “attract significant attention from illicit entities, far more than other pharmaceutical shipments” Vice President of the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition, Chuck Forsaith.
Secretary General of INTERPOL
The European criminal police agency Europol has warned that criminals could attack vaccine transport trucks to resell the goods on the black market.
It would not be the first time that vaccines have been stolen, including in Quebec.
In 1959, during the polio epidemic, 75,000 doses of vaccines were stolen in Montreal. Most recently, in 2009, a truck containing 930 doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine was stolen in Milwaukee, United States.
The threat also concerns the computer networks on which the logistics operation of the century is based and the internet, where fraudsters can sell fake vaccines, according to Europol, INTERPOL, IBM and the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
“Criminal networks will also seek to attract unsuspecting individuals through bogus websites and fake medicine,” Jürgen Stock said.