In this article
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the U.K. has contingency plans to fly doses of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. andBioNTech SE into the country if there’s disruption at the border when the post-Brexit transition period ends Dec. 31.
“We have a plan for the vaccine, which is being manufactured in Belgium, and if necessary we can fly in order to avoid those problems,” Hancock told BBC TV’s “Question Time” show late Thursday, when asked about the impact of Brexit. “We’ve got a plan for all eventualities.” He reiterated that he’s “confident” the lack of an EU deal wouldn’t hold up delivery of the vaccine.
The issue matters because with eight weeks to go until the transition period ends, the U.K. and EU are yet to strike a new trading regime to replace it. That’s left companies and business groups warning of border chaos with customs systems not yet ready and overwhelming new paperwork requirements.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the leading candidate to be the first to receive approval for use after earlyfindings this week showed it protects most people from Covid-19. The U.K. has already agreed to buy 40 million doses of the vaccine, but manufacturing takes place outside the country, raising the importance of smooth border operations.
143,231 in U.S.Most new cases today
+4% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-0.8542 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
4.7% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), Sept.