I am keen to see the armed forces used to help in the logistics of distributing the Covid vaccine so I asked Penny Mordaunt, the Cabinet Office Minister (and a reserve Royal Navy officer), about it this morning (12th November).
Question: What recent discussions he has had with (a) other Departments and (b) local leaders on the logistics of distributing covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.
Minister Penny Mordaunt: “The Department of Health and Social Care is working closely with government departments and bodies, the NHS, as well as local leaders on all aspects of vaccine deployment, including distribution and logistics.”
Michael Fabricant: “At urgent questions to the Defence Minister on Tuesday, he said that it is not for the Department of Defence to suggest that they should do the logistics; I think he was being unusually shy actually!
“My Right Honourable Friend will know how good the Armed Forces are at logistics, so can I ask her to ask the Ministry of Defence to definitely get involved in the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine when it is available?”
Minister Penny Mordaunt: “I thank the Honourable Gentleman for affording me the opportunity to pay tribute to the work that our Armed Forces have done across many aspects of this. They’re quite often visible but also behind the scenes in providing planning expertise, they have provided an incredible service to every aspect of the response.
“This is a massive undertaking, the largest vaccination programme in the NHS’ history. But as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer has said, plans for it have been underway for some time, and that includes logistics, transport, PPE, but also an expanded workforce, so that we can deploy it rapidly. Every part of government is going to be making a contribution to that, and as soon as that vaccine is approved, we want to be in a position to deliver it to as many people as possible.”