Criminals come out as countries roll out COVID-19 vaccines

written by Ben West
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Over the past year, we have already witnessed a significant rise in theft of medical and covid-related supplies worldwide. Criminal organizations could use multiple tactics to exploit the delta between demand and access to COVID-19 vaccines over the coming year, including:

– Corrupting medical staff and selling access to vaccine doses.
– Stealing and reselling doses of legitimate vaccines.
– Fraudulent offers of vaccine for sale.

The chaos caused by Covid-19 has contributed significantly to criminal opportunism, while more traditional false claim filings continue:
August 2020: Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil, executed search and arrest warrants in an investigation into corrupt contracts worth $2.1 million to supply hospitals with personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in preventing the spread of COVID-19.December 2020: Federal indictments accused two owners of a New York-area pharmacy chain of conducting $30 million worth of fraudulent Medicare claims linked to COVID-19 policies.

December 2020: Thailand’s National Health Security Office identified $6.5 million worth of fraudulent charges filed by 190 clinics for procedures that were never performed. The staggered distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines therefore creates a market vulnerable to criminal exploitation. This means those involved in the distribution and administration of vaccines should be aware of the potential to exploit the world’s newest and highly coveted commodity.



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