WHO warns of fake Pfizer, BioNTech COVID shot in Americas

Suspected fake Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccines discovered in Mexico last month have now been confirmed as falsified by the World Health Organisation.

In an alert, the WHO warned that the falsified BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine may still be in circulation in the Americas. The vaccines – which were supplied and administered to patients outside authorised vaccination programmes – are being laboratory tested to see what they contain.

According to the agency, Pfizer and BioNTech have confirmed they did not manufacture the product, that the batch number and expiry dates are falsified, and the glass vials and label are different from genuine BNT162b2 vials. Details of the fake are included below:

"Falsified COVID-19 vaccines pose a serious risk to global public health and place an additional burden on vulnerable populations and health systems," said the WHO in its alert. "It is important to identify and remove these from circulation."

It advises that all medical products must be obtained from authorised/licensed suppliers, and the products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked. asked BioNTech for information on the measures it takes to protect its vaccine from falsification and other security threats like diversion or theft, and the guidance it gives to those administering them, but the company declined to comment.

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