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Letter claiming to authorize import of COVID-19 vaccine into Somalia fake, Health Ministry says

Wednesday March 17, 2021

MOGADISHU (HOL) - The Ministry of Health has dismissed as ‘fake’ a letter purporting to authorize a local company to procure COVID-19 vaccines from China.

“The Ministry of Health and Human Services would like to state that this fake document is not from the Ministry,” the Ministry said in a tweet Wednesday.

The letter dated October 22, 2020, bearing a forged letterhead of the Ministry and fake signature of the Minister of Health Dr. Fawzia Abikar claimed that a company identified as Sahaba Pharmaceuticals based in Puntland had been authorised by the Minister to ‘apply’ for COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with a Chinese pharmaceutical company.

The Ministry warned action against those behind the letter.

“Creating counterfeit Government documents is a serious offence and any individual found involved in such activities will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

Cases of fake letters claiming to emanate from the government and widely circulated on social medi are not uncommon.

Somalia is part of the WHO COVAX programme which aims to provide certain amounts of COVID-19 vaccines for free to developing countries.

The first batch of 300,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Somalia Monday from India under the WHO programme. Vaccination campaigns started Tuesday.


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