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Practices and Covid hubs warned about threat of vaccine packaging thefts

by Awil Mohamoud
22 January 2021

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Covid vaccination hubs have been warned that the vaccine packaging is susceptible to theft and should be appropriately destroyed after use.

NHS England said in updated guidance on Covid-19 waste management that theft of the outer packaging posed ‘a significant security risk’ and GP practices and hospitals should dispose of it through ‘existing confidential waste streams’.

Mass vaccination centres must store the packaging in a secure container and it should be shredded on-site, the document added.

This comes as NHS England announced it has teamed up with law enforcement to warn the public not to fall victim to fraudsters trying to exploit the coronavirus vaccine campaign.

As of 10 January, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, had received 65 reports in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine.

According to NHS England, people have reported suspicious telephone calls or text messages with a link to a booking site that mimics an NHS page, but asks for personal details including bank account numbers.

In one extreme case, a man in London has been charged after knocking on a 92-year-old woman’s door and administering a fake vaccine to her, before taking a £160 payment which he told her would be reimbursed by the NHS.