Lyon, December 3: The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies across the world, asking them to be prepared for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. The alert from Interpol came a day after Britain gave emergency use authorisation to Pfizer for its vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 Vaccination to Be Free in Finland.

The "orange notice" issued by Interpol underlined potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines amid the pandemic. "As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains," Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said. Interpol suggested coordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies to curb the sale of fake vaccines or medical equipment. Fake News About COVID-19 Vaccine 'Second Pandemic', Need to Highlight Importance of Vaccination, Says Red Cross Chief.

"Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives. 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, which is why Interpol has issued this global warning," Secretary General Stock added.

Interpol also advised the general public to be alert when they go online to purchase medicines or medical equipment. "To avoid falling victim to online scams, it is important to be vigilant, be sceptical and be safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are. Always check with your national health authorities or the World Health Organization for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19," it said.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 03, 2020 11:47 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website