Health Canada has issued a warning against buying COVID-19 vaccines that are being sold over the internet or by unauthorized sources.
These vaccines are counterfeit, the health authority said, and may pose serious health risks. They also do not protect against COVID-19.
“The only way to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority in collaboration with Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments,” the department said.
“COVID-19 vaccines are being offered free of charge to all Canadians.”
Health Canada notes that selling counterfeit drugs or vaccines is a criminal activity. The department is working with other government agencies as well as international partners to protect Canadians.
In addition to Health Canada’s warning, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has sent out a global alert on the issue to its 194 member countries.
Health Canada first approved a vaccine against COVID-19 on December 9. The vaccine, made by Pfizer, went into use in Canada on December 14.
Canada has deals with seven vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, to procure up to 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Health officials have the option to purchase an additional 220 million doses if need be.
“Health Canada evaluates the safety, efficacy, and quality of any drug or vaccine before it can be legally sold in Canada,” they said.
To date, there have been 481,630 COVID-19 cases in Canada, and 13,799 deaths.