British Army to be given new role in Covid-19 vaccine transport
Iran Press TV
Monday, 07 December 2020 4:47 PM
In a reprise of the army's role in the early period of the coronavirus pandemic, the force has reportedly been told to prepare for transporting vaccine stocks to the UK.
According to Foreign Office Minister, James Cleverly, the army can be used to assist in transporting further stocks of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from Belgium to the UK.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast earlier this morning (December 07), Cleverly said the coronavirus vaccine is a "top priority product" and to that end the government is exploring "non-commercial flight options".
Cleverly, who is in charge of the Middle East and North Africa portfolios at the Foreign office, raised the prospect of enlisting the army's support amid mounting concerns that a no-deal Brexit could adversely affect the speedy transport of the vaccine to the UK.
"This is such an important product, it's probably perhaps the most important product, so we will look to ensure that those supplies are available in the UK in whatever circumstance", Cleverly insisted.
Cleverly's desire to involve the army in vaccine transport and distribution comes against the backdrop of the imminent start of the UK's Covid-19 mass vaccination campaign.
Indeed, vaccinations are set to begin tomorrow (December 08), with front-line health staff, people aged over 80 and care home workers due to receive the Covid-19 vaccine first.
However, questions will be raised about the merits of involving the army as the British armed forces are widely judged to have performed poorly in the early phase of the pandemic.
The army appeared to be using the pandemic as part of a propaganda exercise to raise its profile and standing in British society.However, when this propaganda effort failed the political establishment was forced to pick up the pieces.
It remains to be seen if the army's involvement in the transport and distribution of the vaccine proves to be less politically costly this time around.
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