The Mexican government has just seized a shipment of fake Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from a private plane bound for Honduras, a statement from the Mexican customs administration said Thursday.
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The aircraft was at Campeche state airport in the south of the country, the statement said.
Mexican customs and military officials “detected inside two coolers 1,155 vials containing the equivalent of 5,775 doses of the Russian vaccine against COVID-19 hidden among soft drinks and candy,” the statement said. .
The crew and passengers, of Honduran nationality, were placed at the disposal of the Mexican Attorney General’s office.
For its part, the Russian Sovereign Fund (RDIF), which is financing the development of the Sputnik V vaccine, argued that analysis of the images of the shipment showed that it was a fake substance.
“Analysis of the photographs of the seized cargo, including the design of the containers and labels, suggests that it is a fake substance that has nothing to do with the original vaccine,” according to RDIF.
RDIF added that each vaccine shipment is subject to strict controls with electronic QR codes that allow it to be tracked.
“Sputnik V is only transported by approved companies that meet high safety standards, including safety and temperature control,” said RDIF, noting that this is an example of “Possible provocation aimed at discrediting” the vaccine.
He thanked the Mexican government for helping to put an end to this maneuver.
Mexico began vaccinating medical staff who treat patients with the COVID-19 virus on December 24. On February 15, Mexico City extended vaccination to people over the age of 60, or some 15 million people in the country, according to official data.
The country received the first 200,000 doses of Sputnik V on February 22.