Thousands of people in coronavirus-ravaged India have been jabbed with fake COVID-19 vaccines in a sickening scam that charged desperate people between $10 and $17 per dose.
“They were using saline water and injecting it,” said Vishal Thakur, a senior official of the Mumbai police department, according to CNN.
“Every fake vaccination camp that they held, they were doing this.”
About 2,500 people received fake vaccines at 12 sites outside Mumbai, according to Thakur.
The organizers, which included medical professionals, even allegedly charged between $10 and $17 per dose, authorities said, according to the New York Times.
The scammers netted about $28,000 in total, CNN reported.
Thakur said 14 people have so far been arrested for alleged cheating, attempts at culpable homicide, and criminal conspiracy.
COVID-19 infections and deaths surged in India in April and May, with more than 180,000 people dying from the disease over the two-month period alone.
A nurse in New Delhi prepares a COVID-19 vaccine.SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
The South Asian country has recorded more than 400,000 deaths in total, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
The highly transmissible Delta variant or B1.617.2 — which the Center for Disease Control in June labeled a “variant of concern” — first emerged in India in December.