Grant Shapps confirms UK import system Brexit-proof to ensure COVID-19 vaccine access

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Grant Shapps said the import of the coronavirus vaccine batches from Belgium will not be affected by a no-deal Brexit. The UK Government confirmed this week they purchased millions of COVID-19 jabs, some of which are produced in the European Union member state. Asked whether the vaccine could be caught in potential “Brexit chaos” at the border past January 2021, the Transport Secretary said: “In terms of the transition period, we’ve been doing an extraordinary amount of work to make sure that our borders can flow, that it is undisrupted as possible.

“We need to see because we don’t have a final deal with the EU so we don’t know whether we are going to leave on the so-called Australia or Canadian-style departure.

“Either way, what I can tell you is, I’ve looked at the facilities and places like Kent, where there is a massive facility being created there to ensure that lorries can come and go, that we will be prepared for whatever comes.

“I have absolutely no concern whatsoever that the vaccines that we’ve purchased will make it through.”

Mr Shapps also took a subtle swipe at the European Union after the bloc warned Britain’s failure to join its vaccine procurement system would leave the UK without jabs.

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The Conservative frontbencher said: “We’ve seen this week this extraordinary breakthrough with the Pfizer breakthrough. We’re hoping to see similar things with the AstraZeneca one.

“I remember back in the early summer being told that because we hadn’t signed up to the EU programme to buy these vaccines, we’d somehow be left behind.

“Not at all, what’s actually happened is we got in front of the queue. We made purchases of a number of half a dozen different vaccines and made sure we are able to be amongst the first to roll these out whilst it turns out the other people didn’t buy them.

“That’s a practical example of how our mission to ensure this country can be independent, make our own laws and look after ourselves is actually working in reality.”

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