Health Canada warns Canadians not to buy COVID-19 vaccines sold online or from unauthorized sources

Starting date:
December 16, 2020
Type of communication:
Advisory
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Unauthorized products
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-74579

Last updated:

Summary

  • Product: Potential counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines
  • Issue: Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risks of buying COVID-19 vaccines sold on the internet or from unauthorized sources as they are counterfeit and may pose serious health risks.
  • What to do: Do not buy COVID-19 vaccines online or from unauthorized sources. 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.

Issue

Health Canada is warning Canadians not to buy COVID-19 vaccines sold on the internet or from unauthorized sources as they are counterfeit. Counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines may pose serious health risks, and are ineffective at protecting an individual from the COVID-19 virus.

On December 9, 2020, Health Canada authorized the first vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19. Health Canada evaluates the safety, efficacy and quality of any drug or vaccine before it can be legally sold in Canada and all vaccines require specific storage conditions in order to maintain their quality. COVID-19 vaccines have a tightly-controlled supply chain, and will only be provided through clinics organized or endorsed by your local public health authority.  COVID-19 vaccines are being offered free of charge to all Canadians.

Selling counterfeit drugs or vaccines is a criminal activity that poses serious risks to the health and safety of Canadians. Health Canada takes this issue seriously and is working with international partners and other government departments and agencies, such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), to help protect Canadians. The International Criminal Police Organization, INTERPOL, has issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them of this issue.

The Department will not hesitate to use all tools at its disposal to stop these illegal activities and will refer incidents of suspected counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

What you should do

  • Do not buy or use COVID-19 vaccines sold on the internet or from unauthorized sources as they are counterfeit, may pose risks to health, and are ineffective at protecting an individual from the COVID-19 virus.
  • 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.
  • Consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Report  any information on the sale or advertising of potential counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines  to Health Canada 
  • Visit reliable and trusted sources of information, like the Government of Canada’s websites Canada.ca/vaccines and Canada.ca/coronavirus, and your local public health authority’s website.
  • Report any health product adverse events to Health Canada 

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983
hc.media.sc@canada.ca

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709
hcinfo.infosc@canada.ca