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China cracks down on fake Covid vaccine ring

The criminal group had been active since last November and sold counterfeit vaccines in China and other countries.

Chinese police have arrested more than 80 members of a criminal group that produced and sold fake Covid-19 vaccines, including in other countries, and confiscated more than 3,000 doses, according to a report from the national Xinhua news agency.

Police in Beijing and Jiangsu and Shandong provinces disbanded the group led by a suspect named Kong that produced the fake vaccines, which consisted of a simple saline solution, Xinhua reported.

The vaccines were sold in China and other countries, although it is not specified which ones.

China’s foreign ministry, through spokesman Wang Wenbin, let it be known that it has already contacted the other nations where the fake vaccines were sold.

“The Chinese government highly values vaccine safety and will continue to take efforts to strictly prosecute any counterfeits, fake sales and illegal business, and other related actions that involve vaccine. At the same time, China will strengthen our law enforcement cooperation with the relevant countries, to earnestly prevent the spread of this type of illegal and criminal action”, Wang said.

In 2016, police arrested two people leading a ring that sold millions of improperly stored vaccines across the country.

China has at least seven Covid-19 vaccines in the latest stage of clinical trials, and has one that has been approved for home use, made by state-owned company Sinopharm.

Chinese vaccine manufacturers have taken the opportunity provided by the pandemic to go global, with Sinopharm and other Chinese companies making deals or donating their vaccines in at least 27 countries around the world.

Domestically, China has given more than 24 million doses of its homemade vaccine candidates as part of a mass vaccination campaign.

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