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2 Israelis detained on suspicion of selling used COVID vaccine vials

Police say investigators aware of at least 9 empty bottles sold by the suspects to overseas buyers for $100 a pop

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, December 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, December 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Police detained two Israelis Wednesday on suspicion of selling used vials of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to buyers overseas.

The two central Israel residents, aged 45 and 19, are suspected of negligent care with medication, violating the pharmacists’ ordinance and stealing from an employer.

Police said as part of his work, one of the suspects had access to empty vaccine vials and took some home to sell on the internet, which a relative helped him with. Each bottle could fetch $100, according to a police statement.

Investigators were aware of at least nine vials sold to buyers, seven of whom were in the United States. The other two were in France and Italy. It wasn’t clear what the buyers planned to do with the empty vials, dozens of which police said were found during a search of the suspect’s home.

Police said the investigation was being carried out jointly with the Health Ministry.

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