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B.C. RCMP called in to protect COVID-19 vaccine, help with delivery

Last Updated Dec 10, 2020 at 10:14 pm PST

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

In a statement Thursday, Mounties confirm they have been in by the province's health officials to assist

Dr. Bonnie Henry first referenced the concern that vaccination efforts could be 'sabotaged' earlier this week

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The RCMP has been called in to help make sure COVID-19 vaccines aren’t interfered with or sabotaged before frontline workers start lining up to get immunized next week.

In a statement Thursday, Mounties confirm they have been called in by the province’s health officials to assist.

“The BC RCMP is working closely with our provincial partners, namely the Ministry of Health, in the planning and delivery of the vaccines across the province. We have been engaged in the planning process, and will continue to support throughout the delivery phase,” reads a statement from S. Sgt. Janelle Shoihet.

“For operational reasons, we cannot provide more specific details with respect to the roles we have, and will continue to play.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry first referenced the concern that vaccination efforts could be “sabotaged” in her briefing Wednesday, reiterating this concern Thursday.

“We want to make sure that it’s not tampered with and we want to make sure that we have appropriate precautions in place so that people are able to come and go freely, and to handle the vaccine safely.”

There has been a concerted effort to interrupt the cold chain for example and sabotage immunization programs.

The first round of the COVID-19 vaccine will be arriving in British Columbia, and it will be distributed at two locations. But Henry has only said that the doses will be going to one place in the Fraser Health region, and another in the Vancouver Coastal region — keeping details confidential due to these safety concerns.

Henry’s remarks come in the wake of a warning from INTERPOL which issued a so-called Orange Alert for law enforcement in its 194 member countries.

The concern, INTERPOL said, is that criminal organizations may being manufacturing and selling counterfeit vaccines, or may even try to steal real ones and then sell them on the black market, online and in physical locations.

The global policing agency says the COVID-19 pandemic has “already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour.”