COVID-19 Vaccine Scam In Uganda Results In About 800 People Being Injected With Water

At a time when vaccines were in short supply, scammers targeted people looking to pay for vaccines, including corporate employees.

Cover image via South China Morning Post & Rachel Mabala/Daily Monitor

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At least 800 people in Uganda received fake COVID-19 vaccines in a major scam that targeted employers who rushed to immunise workers amid a spike in infections

According to ABC News, State House Health Monitoring Unit director Dr Warren Naamara said that several medical officials turned out to be fraudsters administering largely water to employees of companies that paid fees to have their workers vaccinated.

The counterfeit jabs were administered over May and June when Uganda saw a surge in COVID-19 cases, recording about 1,700 new infections per day.

Two medical workers allegedly involved in the scam have been arrested and police are on the hunt for another doctor

"This was a clear scam, this fellow was looking for money, just a common criminal... we suspect he was injecting people with water because it's colourless, odourless, and not dangerous," Naamara told Reuters.

"He is still on the run but we're hunting for him. We have arrested two nurses whom he was employing."

The scammers charged recipients between UGX100,000 and UGX200,000 (around RM118.96 to RM237.92) for a fake shot.

Authorities raided the premises used by the suspects and documents showed that at least 812 people had been vaccinated.

However, Naamara believes that the number of victims could be more.

Reuters reported that at the scene, investigators found vials with tampered seals, bogus vaccine labelling, and false shipping information.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the East African country has recorded over 91,355 COVID-19 cases and 2,483 deaths.

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