Airports advised advancing security efforts for COVID-19 vaccine cargo

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Airports around the world are being advised to step up security efforts to protect COVID-19 vaccine vessels amid police warnings about targeting from criminal networks.

PHOTO FILE: Shipments of Pfizer coronavirus infection vaccines (COVID-19) will be loaded from United Airlines cargo plane from Brussels to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, USA December 2, 2020. United Airlines / Handout through REUTERS.

The recommendation from a global airports group comes as pharmaceutical companies and airlines are carrying out the largest supply chain of its kind to distribute vaccines designed to combat pandemics. spread of the universe.

As part of a wider consultation magazine on vaccine distribution recently issued to members, the International Airports Council recommended that affected airports should consult with local authorities and carry out risk assessments on loads delivered.

The magazine was posted Friday on the agency’s website, a spokesman said.

“The sensitive nature of the vaccines, the high level of demand for them and the initial short supply has the potential to attract the attention of malicious individuals or groups,” he said.

“Consideration should be given to increasing the protection of these materials and / or the facilities in their homes. In many cases, this will require co-ordination with local security authorities. ”

The global police coordination body Interpol recently warned that organized criminal networks could target COVID-19 vaccines, possibly through infiltration or supply chain disruption. [FWN2II0HH]

The magazine also advised airports to consider safety measures as large quantities of dry ice needed to meet the ultra-cold requirements of the vaccines were used. Dry ice transport is regulated because it is considered a “dangerous thing.”

The United Nations airline is in talks to “increase the number of dry ice that can be carried in one plane, as long as strict protocols are followed,” he said.

Vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE have begun to be given to people in the United States and Britain and a second vaccine, from Moderna Inc, is expected to receive regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alongside within days.

Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Edited by Alistair Bell