Afraid that Covid vaccines will be in short supply in Switzerland, some people are turning to the internet to purchase their doses.
Fraudsters are exploiting these fears by posing as doctors or online pharmacies, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) said on its site.
However, “the products they are offering are fakes that either contain no active ingredients at all, or else contain substances that can endanger people’s health”, Swissmedic said.
“If you purchase medicines or vaccines from an unregulated source, you are putting your health at risk”, the agency warned.
Swissmedic also stressed that coronavirus vaccines must be stored and transported in an unbroken cold chain at temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius.
“Clearly, these products cannot be sold online and be expected to arrive in perfect condition”.
On January 11th, Swissmedic granted its authorisation to the Covid vaccine manufactured by the US company Moderna.
It is the second vaccine approved for use in Switzerland, after the one produced by Pfizer/BioNtech was authorised in December.
In all, Switzerland purchased 13 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from three manufacturers — Pfizer (3 million doses), Moderna (4.5 million) and AstraZeneca (5.3 million).
“You will be provided with Covid-19 vaccines free of charge, and there will be enough vaccine for everyone willing to be vaccinated”, the agency said as it alerted the public about the internet scam.
The inoculation programme began in six Swiss-German cantons on December 23rd, prioritising groups deemed to be most at risk — people over 75 years of age, essential healthcare workers, residents and employees of elderly care homes, and those suffering from serious chronic illnesses.
It has since expanded to other cantons, and the government said it would vaccinate all those who want it by the summer.