Lithuanian anti-corruption agency warns of risk of black market for coronavirus vaccine

  • 2021-01-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Lithuanian Special Investigation Service (STT) has seen increasing indications that a black market for coronavirus vaccines may emerge in the country, the anti-corruption agency's director said on Thursday.

"We are getting an increasing amount of information, and not only in Lithuania, that there is a risk of a black market for the vaccine forming," Zydrunas Bartkus told the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense. 

STT currently has no evidence suggesting that the process is already taking place in Lithuania, but there is such a risk, Bartkus said, noting that there are indications of a black market emerging in other countries. 

Therefore, it is necessary to constantly monitor certain data that could signal the presence or absence of a black market, according to the director. 

The key numbers to watch are how many doses have been distributed among health-care institutions, have many people have been vaccinated and how many doses have been lost, Bartkus said.  

"If there is a high number of broken ampules or other losses, that would signal a risk that that sixth dose from the ampoule or that allegedly broken vaccine (ampoule) could have ended up in the black market," he said.  

The director added that his agency currently cannot control such information because data are entered into the e-health system with delay and are frequently altered. 

As of Thursday morning, 56,358 people in Lithuania have received their first coronavirus vaccine shots and 8,262 have been given the second jab.

Lithuania is currently using two coronavirus vaccines, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna.