Lab technician operating a microscope

Key supply chain workers to be offered Covid-19 vaccine

As many as 2,000 highly-trained workers in roles crucial to the Covid-19 vaccine supply chain are set to be offered a jab in the coming days to help ensure the UK gets the doses it needs to protect the most vulnerable.

Those being offered the vaccine will be identified by the Government as being in irreplaceable and highly-skilled roles crucial to the delivery of vaccine supplies.

Offering the vaccine to these workers is intended to help minimise the risk of disruption to the immediate supply chain in the event of an outbreak of the virus.

Effective and constant manufacture of vaccine doses is essential to continuing the momentum achieved so far by the UK’s largest-ever vaccination drive. Some four million people have already been vaccinated.

Those eligible will include staff working for Pfizer and AstraZeneca in specialist UK roles, such as those making the vaccine substance, working on fill and finish and batch testing, as well as those involved in end-to-end coordination who are responsible for getting doses to the right place at the right time.

Although each supplier will, as standard practice, follow strict Covid-secure guidelines, the nature of the job and the close proximity of staff means infections cannot be ruled out. Each vaccine supplier has contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of production in the event of an outbreak, though the UK Government has taken further action now to help reduce the risk of disruption.

Eligible workers will be identified by their employer against clear government criteria and the most appropriate location for vaccination will then be agreed between the NHS, local providers and employer.

People with similar key roles working in the supply chain for the seasonal flu vaccine are already among the first to be offered the flu jab – to protect continuity of their critical contribution in the vaccination programme.

These steps have been agreed by all four of the devolved nations, set to be implemented in the coming days across the UK.

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