A phoney doctor in Uganda, now on the run, was suspected to have been injecting people with water and passing it off as COVID-19 vaccine.
For each “water jab”, the wanted doctor charged between 100,000- 200,000 Ugandan shillings, about $28-$56.
Police in Uganda have arrested two nurses working for the doctor and were hunting for him.
The phoney doctor had persuaded several companies to pay for their employees to receive his vaccines, according to the head of a public health monitoring unit within the president’s office.
“This was a clear scam, this fellow was looking for money, just a common criminal…we suspect he was injecting people with water because it’s colourless, odourless and not dangerous,” Dr. Warren Naamara told Reuters.
“He is still on the run but we’re hunting for him. We have arrested two nurses whom he was employing.”
Documents seized in a raid of the premises used by the suspects showed at least 812 people had been vaccinated but Naamara said the number of victims could be more.
During a raid on the premises used by the suspects, investigators found vials whose seals had been tampered with, and had bogus vaccine labelling and false shipping information, Naamara said.
Coronavirus infections and fatalities have soared in Uganda since late May, as the highly-infectious Delta variant had fuelled a second wave of infections.
A vaccination campaign, which began in March, has been hampered by insufficient deliveries of shots from the vaccine-sharing facility COVAX, that was set up to supply low income countries.
As a result, Ugandans have at times been forced to queue in long lines, some times for a whole day, hoping to be vaccinated.
According to an update released on Wednesday, Uganda’s cumulative COVID-19 cases have hit 79,977.
There was some silver lining as new infections dropped to 543, the lowest in the month.