Dark markets are offering COVID-19 vaccines and proofs of vaccination: a threat to the ongoing vaccination campaign

Less than 2% of the worldwide population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, with the remaining portions that would have to wait their vaccine shot for months. Some of these individuals may decide to buy a vaccine or a fabricated proof of vaccination on the shadow economy, as already happened with falsified test results.

Our study has found clear evidence that dark markets are offering such products. We are monitoring 102 dark markets and currently registered three listings offering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, one listing the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine (shown in the Figure), and three listings a fabricated proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The unregulated diffusion of illicit vaccines on dark markets constitutes a major threat to public health, and could undermine the ongoing COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign. Our analysis aims at raising the awareness of the phenomenon and supports the effort of law enforcement agencies to contain it.

Overall, we registered hundreds of other listings related to COVID-19 (e.g. masks and COVID-19 tests) that are available on dark markets. More information can be found in other posts of this website, like here and here, or below in our scientific publications.

How to cite:

Want to cite and/or use the information provided in this page? It is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 - please cite our ongoing monitoring effort as follows:

A. Bracci(+), M. Nadini(+), M. Aliapoulios, D. McCoy, I. Gray, A. Teytelboym, A. Gallo, A. Baronchelli. Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: The vaccines. Preprint arXiv:2102.05470 (2021)

A. Bracci, M. Nadini, M. Aliapoulios, D. McCoy, I. Gray, A. Teytelboym, A. Gallo, A. Baronchelli. Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: before the vaccine. EPJ Data Science 10.1 (2021): 1-26

(+) These authors contributed equally

Thu Feb 11 2021

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The research presented in the website is supported by the "COVID-19: Monitoring the effects of the pandemic on illicit online trade" project funded by the ESRC. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) unless otherwise specified in single posts.