The Union government has accorded a security cover of armed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) commandos for the Hyderabad premises of Bharat Biotech, one of the major COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers in the country. Officials told PTI that the registered office and plant of the company located at Genome Valley in the Shameerpet area of Telangana's capital city will be secured by a team of 64 armed personnel of the paramilitary force.
Sources told PTI that the Union Home Ministry recently sanctioned a proposal to deploy CISF at this facility, following which the force carried out a survey. "The organisation is an important facility when it comes to ensuring medical and health security of the country and it, obviously, faces a terror threat from various inimical elements. The CISF, hence, has been tasked to secure the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad," an official said.
The force will be inducted at the facility on June 14, CISF Deputy Inspector General and Chief Spokesperson Anil Pandey told PTI. Bharat Biotech is the manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccine, named Covaxin. India at present is administering two vaccines â€” Covaxin and Covishield, and the latter is being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The third vaccine, Sputnik V is also being administered to some citizens at private hospitals, following a soft launch by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddys Laboratories, which is in charge of distributing the Russian vaccines in India.
The CISF was allowed to secure private installations of public importance following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, where five-star luxury hotels and a Jewish Chabad house were targeted by members of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. The force guards about 10 such facilities across the country, including the Infosys campuses in Pune and Mysuru, the Reliance IT Park in Navi Mumbai and Yoga exponent Ramdev's Patanjali factory premises in Uttarakhand's Haridwar.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it will be procuring vaccines and distributing them to states for free from June 21. On Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that it has issued a fresh order for 25 crore doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin for vaccinations from the month of August. These 44 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available till December 2021.