The UK Government will supply the Overseas Territories with a proportionate share of the vaccines that the UK procures, and together with the UK Vaccine Taskforce are coordinating plans to deploy vaccines to the BOTs.
The statement is from Parliamentary Under-Secretary Wendy Morton, last Monday in reply to a question from Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, ”what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people residing in the British Overseas Territories are able to access a Covid 19 vaccine.”
In response, Parliamentary Under-Secretary Wendy Morton said, “The UK Government has been supporting the Overseas Territories throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, enabling seven to establish local testing facilities, and ensuring none ran out of personal protective equipment, testing, and other medical supplies.
“UK Ministers have written to the leaders of the Overseas Territories, confirming that the UK Government will supply the Territories with a proportionate share of the vaccines that the UK procures, in line with the UK’s enduring commitment to the people of the Overseas Territories.
“The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, together with Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the UK Vaccine Taskforce, are now coordinating plans to deploy vaccines to the Territories.”
According to a UK Parliamentary report, the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories, Anguilla, Bermuda, BVI, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, and the Turks & Caicos) have a combined population of around 250,000 people.
Britain was the first country in the world to start, on 8 December, coronavirus vaccinations after regulators approved the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. In effect on December 2nd., the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), became the first regulator in the world to grant emergency authorization to the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine for use.
When some questions emerged about the authorization, the UK government noted in a statement that a dedicated team of MHRA scientists and clinicians carried out a rigorous, scientific and detailed review of all the available data, starting in October 2020”
The statement added that MHRA had been carrying out a “rolling review” of the vaccine data as it emerged over the course of clinical trials, and was thus able to make a quick, yet well-informed, decision.
“A ‘rolling review’ can be used to complete the assessment of a promising medicine or vaccine during a public health emergency in the shortest time possible. This is done as the packages of data become available from ongoing studies on a staggered basis,” underlines.
“The MHRA expert scientists and clinicians reviewed data from the laboratory pre-clinical studies, clinical trials, manufacturing and quality controls, product sampling and testing of the final vaccine and also considered the conditions for its safe supply and distribution.”
A release from the Gibraltar government states that the Rock will be receiving the Covid 19 vaccine in January, and because of logistics, most probably a 100,000 doses batch. Gibraltar' Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sohail Bhatti said the purpose was to avoid several shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine given its extreme fragility. Thus an only consignment of between 50,000 and 100,000 doses is expected next month.