The group was helmed by a suspect surnamed Kong, according to the Associated Press, and sold the fake vaccines within China and to additional countries. Authorities in Beijing, as well as in the Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, busted the group and informed affected regions.
"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 vaccines," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday. "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."
According to Tuesday's report, the fake vaccines in question were made from a simple saline solution. It was not immediately clear which other countries had been targeted by the fraudulent sales operation. The group had reportedly been actively hawking the fake vaccine as early as September of 2020.
One vaccine, manufactured by the state-owned Sinopharm, has been approved for domestic use in China. There are at least seven total vaccines now in the final stages of their respective clinical trials in the region.
Here in the States, a new White House administration is currently working to boost the vaccine distribution process after the bulk of the pandemic was spent under a cloud of ineptitude.