Today in Parliament, Munira challenged the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, on Covid-19 vaccine supply chains after the Brexit transition period expires.
Earlier this week, Pfizer published promising vaccine news – but the dosage must be kept at -70°C until it is ready to be administered. As the vaccine will be manufactured in Belgium, it is imperative that the cold temperature is maintained across the border, as it would otherwise run the risk of spoiling stock.
Frictionless border control is no longer guaranteed after the transition period expires in 2021.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Munira said:
“The news about the Pfizer vaccine is extremely encouraging and we’re all hopeful that it’s proved safe and effective and approved by regulators.
If that is indeed the case, given that it’s being manufactured in Belgium and as he has noted it has to be kept at -70 degrees at all times until shortly before administration, what arrangements is he putting in place to ensure there is absolutely no delay of the supplies at the borders following the end of the Brexit transition period because any significant delay could at worst result in the precious supplies being damaged and rendered useless which could delay roll-out?”
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said:
“Of course we’ve looked at this risk and I have confidence in our plans to be able to deliver the vaccine whatever the outcomes of the negotiations over our future relationship with Europe.”
Following the exchange, Munira said:
“News of a vaccine is very welcome and I hope that further research proves it both safe and effective, and therefore approved by regulators.
We have to evaluate the risk Brexit could have on supply chains, in particular on products that need to be transported via highly specialist cold-chain. It would be unforgivable if precious stocks of vaccine were ruined and rendered unusable due to delays at borders as a result of inadequate preparation by the government.
Today in the Commons Matt Hancock did not discuss any specifics on the measures the Government is taking to prevent this risk. I will continue to push the Government to ensure it plans properly for any eventuality.”