As swine flu vaccinations started this week across the country in the government's effort to immunize more than half the nation in a few months, expect online scammers to begin doing their thing by selling fake vaccinations.

The small initial shipments of the real vaccine are being reserved by most states for doctors and other front-line health workers, and the roll-out to combat the H1N1 strain should be in full swing in a few weeks with at least 40 million doses available.

But The Daily Beast warns that scam artists from Internet "pharmacies" are lining up to bridge the gap between supply and demand.

It reports that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the World Health Organization and the pharmaceutical industry are preparing for an onslaught of fake and substandard drugs. Unauthorized versions of Tamiflu, the patented Roche vaccine, are expected to hit the Internet.

"We don't know what we could be seeing in the next few weeks," Gary Coody, who coordinates health care enforcement for the FDA, told The Daily Beast. "They (Internet drug operators) don't necessarily have any regard for public=health safeguards."

Leave it to scam artists to fill a void in the marketplace.

So beware, and if you're so anxious about getting a swine flu vaccine, talk to your doctor first.



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