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Doctor among 4 arrested in Indonesia for stealing prisoners' Covid-19 vaccines to sell on black market

Doctor among 4 arrested in Indonesia for stealing prisoners' Covid-19 vaccines to sell on black market
Indonesian authorities have arrested four people charged with stealing Covid-19 vaccines that had been marked for prisoners. The shots were then being sold to buyers in Jakarta and Medan for $17.

Authorities said on Tuesday that the suspects, who included a prison doctor and a local health official, took more than 1,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac jab from the prisoners’ quota to sell them on the black market. 

“One of the suspects brought the vaccines to Jakarta where we also uncovered some locations providing the service,” North Sumatra police spokesman Hadi Wahyudi told AFP on Tuesday. The suspects face life in prison under Indonesia’s anti-corruption laws. 

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Police said the suspects brought the shots to the capital Jakarta and North Sumatra’s Medan and sold them to buyers for around 250,000 rupiah ($17) each.

Indonesia has only administered 25 million jabs to its 270 million-strong population, meaning many are still waiting for their lifesaving shots. Supplies have been prioritized for frontline health workers, high-risk groups and inmates in the country’s overcrowded prisons. 

The arrests come three weeks after authorities arrested health workers at Medan’s airport who were found to be washing and reselling used Covid-19 nasal swab test kits. Police say as many as 9,000 passengers could have been tested with the recycled swabs.

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