Thai clinic shut down for selling fake Moderna vaccine: cops

Original images: Interpol, Hakan German.
Original images: Interpol, Hakan German.

The owner of a Prachinburi province clinic was being dragged in for questioning today after patients said he was selling bogus Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. 

A day after the authorities raided the Kularb Clinic in Prachinburi’s Kabinburi district, where clients complained they were scammed THB1,500 (USD$46) per dose, Col. Pattanachai Pamornpibul of Wangg Takian Police said the owner was set to be questioned Wednesday.

A woman said she had transferred up to THB6,000 to vaccinate her family of four, but on the date of their scheduled inoculation, she said clinic staff never showed her the vaccine’s packaging. She said she and her family members did not suffer any of the expected side effects, either. 

The woman said that it was later, when she learned from a friend that Moderna was not yet officially available in Thailand,  that she called health officials and eventually filed a police complaint.

While Moderna’s mRNA vaccine is circulating on the black market, the first sanctioned supply of nearly four million doses, meant for sale by private hospitals, is not expected to start arriving until the fourth quarter.

Col. Pattanachai said the raid failed to find any actual Moderna vaccine, which could see the clinic, which specializes in midwifery, prosecuted for fraud. Owner Kularb Yamnok was being brought in for questioning Wednesday, Pattanachai said.

The authorities said they also found dangerous drugs at the clinic, which faces charges of operating without a proper license and possessing harmful drugs. The closure order was indefinite.

Chinese-made Sinovac have comprised the bulk of Thailand’s mass vaccination campaign, but concerns about its efficacy and low public trust have raised public frustration with the government response and calls for more effective alternatives.

Related

20 million doses of Pfizer vaccines to come to Thailand: Thai cabinet

Some bottles of Sinovac are defective, contain lump of gel: FDA

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