‘Operation Stolen Promise’ targets counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus Vaccine

Tami Jeffries, R.N., prepares the first locally-available dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Mike Morones/The Free Lance-Star via AP)

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Throughout the pandemic, criminal organizations keep trying to financially profit through scams and counterfeit remedies. Now that there are two COVID-19 vaccines on the market, the Department of Homeland Security is warning the public about the counterfeit efforts from criminals.

“Whenever there is a demand for something there will be nefarious people who produce counterfeit products.”

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams

Homeland Security officials said over the past 9 months it has received tips about criminal groups trying to sell fake coronavirus vaccines and treatments. That’s why DHS launched “Operation Stolen Promise 2.0” to crack down on attempts to sell fake vaccines.

And they want everyone to report suspicious activity.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said the FDA is working to fight the counterfeiters.

“This is something that FDA has been involved in from the beginning,” Hahn said. “It is an unfortunate thing that has occurred. We spend a lot of time educating consumers about this.”

This is important to know: Authorities say you should not buy or try to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine online.

“A vaccine is a medication, and you should never take a medication from anyone who is not a licensed provider, whether that’s a doctor a nurse or a pharmacist,” Adams said.

Hahn said “state authorities and the local authorities who are administering it are the ones who people in America should go to. Be very wary of anyone else who’s claiming that they have access to that vaccine.”

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