DOWNING Street wanted doses of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine labelled with the Union Jack, according to reports.
The move is said to have been pushed by the newly-formed “Union unit”, which is tasked with countering calls for Scottish independence and other attempts to break up the UK.
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Downing St reportedly wanted doses of the Oxford covid vaccine labelled with the Union Jack[/caption]
The jab, developed by Oxford University alongside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, is currently awaiting approval for use in the UK from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
The government has pre-ordered 100million doses.
A report by the Huffington Post today suggested that the Union unit had asked the government coronavirus task force to make the manufacturers of the vaccine label it with a Union Jack.
Sources confirmed the request had been made, but Number Ten later said the idea would not be pursued.
“There are no plans for the Union Jack to be on doses,” a spokesperson for the prime minister said.
“Manufacturing for some of the leading potential vaccines is already under way so they can be rolled out quickly if and when approved.
“Manufacturers are well versed in the best ways to package products like this.”
Asked about the claims by the Guardian, a Whitehall source acknowledged that the vaccine was “important” for Number Ten, but added: “The government cannot get involved in any way.”
Asked if it was appropriate that the government had considered trying to interfere with the packaging of the vaccine, if not with the product itself, the source said: “There is a line which the government cannot cross, and the packaging is it.”
It comes after hospitals were told to prepare for the roll out of a vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech as soon at December 7.
That jab, thought to be over 90 percent effective, is expected to be approved for use in the UK within days, according to reports.
Only staff working in the NHS are set to receive the jab initially.
The developers of the Oxford vaccine this week announced that it had been found to be 70 percent effective, although the results were later called into question.
It emerged that the figure was the combined result from two pools of trial participants, each of which was given a slightly different doses of the jab.
The jab was found to be 62 percent effective in one group and 90 percent effective in the other.
AstraZeneca has said it will be conducting further trials, though added that it does not expect the need for further trials to delay the vaccine’s approval by regulators in the UK or elsewhere.