Health Canada warns of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines sold online

TORONTO — Health Canada is urging Canadians not to buy a COVID-19 vaccine online or from unauthorized sources, as they are counterfeit, dangerous and ineffective.

In a notice issued on Wednesday, Health Canada said vaccines bought online “may pose serious health risks” and that the only way to access a safe vaccine is through authorized clinics.

“Health Canada evaluates the safety, efficacy and quality of any drug or vaccine before it can be legally sold in Canada and all vaccines require specific storage conditions in order to maintain their quality,” the agency wrote in the notice. “COVID-19 vaccines have a tightly-controlled supply chain, and will only be provided through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority. “

Health Canada is working with Canada Border Services Agency, other government departments and “international partners” to protect Canadians from faulty vaccines. Any reports of counterfeit vaccines will be handed over to the RCMP, the agency added.

The International Criminal Police Organization issued a global alert in early December related to COVID-19 vaccines being sold online, which indicated that in addition to the dangers of taking a counterfeit vaccine, websites associated with illegal medicine sales are frequently contain phishing scams and malware.

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