The British military is getting ready to transport vaccines against coronavirus
LONDON, (BM) – There is a contingency scenario in Great Britain in case of problems with the supply of vaccines against coronavirus, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. According to the deputy head of the British Foreign Ministry – James Cleverly, in such a situation, the Government could use the British military to help.
The UK-approved vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is manufacturing in Belgium. Last Thursday, the first batch of 40 million doses ordered by the British Government arrived in the UK by truck via the Channel Tunnel. However, since the vaccine requires storage at -70 degrees Celsius, its transport is a logistically complicated operation. Traffic jams at customs clearance points, which are very likely after the new year in the absence of a UK-EU trade deal, would further complicate the operation.
Cleverly confirmed in talks with BBC and Sky News that it is possible to use military planes to transport the vaccine from Belgium and use the armed forces to help distribute it.
“We have extensive plans to ensure the safe supply of this vaccine. As you can imagine, this is an absolute priority, and we are committed to ensuring that we deliver this vaccine to the UK. We looked at the possible use of non-commercial flights; there are border arrangements,” Cleverly explained on Sky News.
He also expressed his belief that even if talks on a trade agreement with the EU fail and in a hostile atmosphere, the EU will not impede vaccines’ transport. “It’s about people’s lives. I have no doubt that the EU will help us to make their transport easier, and we have our independent transport plans to ensure the delivery of vaccines,” he added.
Last week, the British drug regulatory agency MHRA approved the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the American company Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. Britain has become the first country in the world to support the vaccine and will be the first to start vaccinating on Tuesday. The British Government has made a deal to buy 40 million doses of this preparation, which, given that two quantities are necessary, is enough for 20 million people. However, the British Government will realize the vast majority of this order after the new year.
The final date for an agreement could be the EU summit starting on Thursday. Suppose the deal is not ratified by December 31, 2020, when the post-Brexit transition period ends, from next year. In that case, trade between the UK and the EU will govern by the World Trade Organization [WTO] general rules, i.e., customs duties, quantitative amounts, and other barriers.
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