09:44 GMT25 January 2021
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    People were urged to remain vigilant, skeptical and safe against potentially harmful websites as "offers which appear too good to be true usually are", a top global police coordination agency said in a statement on Monday.

    Organised criminal networks could potentially sell fake COVID-19 vaccines, Interpol warned on Wednesday in a press release.

    The Paris-based organisation issued the global alert to law enforcement agencies across 194 member-states in a warning to prepare for organised crime networks operating physically and online.

    “As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organisations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains. 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,” Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock said in a statement.

    He added it was essential that law enforcement remain "as prepared as possible" for what would be an "onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine".

    According to the Interpol Cybercrime Unit, nearly 1,700 of 3,000 online pharmaceuticals websites suspected of selling illegal medicines and devices also contained "cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware", the statement said.

    The news comes as US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer backed the UK's emergency use authorisation of its COVID-19 vaccine, with company chairman and chief executive Albert Bourla calling it a "historic moment" in tackling the pandemic.

    The vaccine, a joint venture with German biotechnology firm BioNTech, is also expected to be shipped to the United States in December, US media reports said, citing Operation Warp Speed.

    The US Food and Drug Administration will meet on 10 December to review whether to authorise the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine for use on 15th this month.

    A second Moderna vaccine will be considered on 17 December and shipped on 22 December, pending review.


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    Interpol, cybercrime, Pfizer, SARS coronavirus, coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine
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