Pakistan to keep COVID-19 vaccine at secret storages for security

As Pakistan rolls out the first phase of its coronavirus vaccination campaign, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has outlined a detailed plan to ensure the shots are protected against theft and terrorist attacks.

Over 70,000 doses of the China-made Sinopharm vaccine, which will be administered to healthcare workers in Pakistan, were shifted to each province on February 1, according to a notification by the NCOC. From there, the containers will be moved to designated centres in districts and cities before medics line up to get the jab.

The notification highlights that the France-based Interpol has warned of a global alert of falsification, theft and illegal advertising during the COVID-19 inoculation drives.

In order to prevent any untoward incident, such as a terrorist attack or the replacement of vaccine doses with counterfeit ones, the NCOC has chalked out a detailed plan for the transportation, storage and administration of the first tranche of the vaccine.

As per the outline, each transportation vehicle must have an armed escort of police, Rangers, FC or the Army. In addition, an invisible security must also accompany the caravan.

Also, the NCOC has advised keeping transportation plans secret and to ensure that the vehicles are not stopped enroute.

During storage, it has proposed a multi-layered security arrangement, with CCTV cameras, armed sentries, and a quick reaction force, which includes details from the police, Rangers, FC or Army.

Separately, each provincial government must constitute a board for security execution, with members from the police, rangers, and intelligence agencies representatives, the notification reads.