A junior minister has said that there are “extensive plans” in place to deal with any disruption to the UK’s Covid vaccine supply chain caused by Britain’s exit from the European Union on December 31.

James Cleverly, minister of state for Middle East and North Africa, told Sky News on Monday that the UK has considered a number of options to ensure that its access to the Pfizer vaccine, which is being produced in Belgium, is not impacted by Brexit. 

The vaccine is the top priority product in terms of bringing anything into the UK

Fears have grown that the UK’s impending exit from the EU, especially in the event of a no-deal Brexit, would cause considerable delays at British ports and airports.

The minister insisted that all avenues had been looked into, including using the military to airlift the jabs from the production site if ports are snarled up. 

“We have extensive plans in place to ensure the protection of our vaccines, that is absolutely the priority product,” Cleverly told Sky News. 

“We’ve looked at the use of non-commercial flights, we have border arrangements in place,” he added. 

On Saturday, the Guardian reported that the Department for Health and Social Care had “discussed” plans to use military transport aircraft to import Covid-19 vaccines from Belgium. 

The UK has granted regulatory approval to the US’s Pfizer vaccine for mass roll out this week.

The National Health Service is expecting to receive millions of doses of the vaccine this month, as authorities embark on the largest vaccination programme in history.

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