A specialist team of detectives from the Australian Federal Police is compiling a list of anti-vaccination protesters after concerns that vaccination centres and storage facilities could be targeted.
As a result, vaccine storage locations are being kept a secret due to security concerns.
“Everybody is concerned about this … we don’t want them destroying vials (of vaccine),” a law enforcement source told the Herald Sun.
The team, which has been named Taskforce Lotus, will be responsible for monitoring the online interactions of the anti-vaccination movement, which has skyrocketed from around 200 to 6000 a day.
They will also be ready to attend any major security breach involving the vaccine.
There are serious fears from senior government figures and law enforcement that protesters could disrupt the rollout of the vaccine as the government aims to have every Australian vaccinated by October, reported the Herald Sun.
A Joint Intelligence Group, made of members from the AFP, Australian Security Intelligence Information, Australian Border Force and state police forces has also been set up by the Department of Home Affairs. It will be staffed around the clock and act as a central hub for information on the anti-vaccination movement and vaccine security.
The AFP warned there is an increasing risk of violence from the anti-vaccination movement in a submission last week to a government enquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia.
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“Law enforcement experiences in 2020 identified an emerging trend of online extremists exploiting the increased public fear, isolation, unemployment, family stress and financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
About 200 people attended a rally on Saturday against the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine at Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office in Victoria.