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Vaccination: Imports

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL14834, tabled on 26 March 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that travel disruption could have on imports of vaccines in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

Answered on

2 April 2019

Leaving the European Union with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. However, as a responsible Government we must plan for every possible outcome including ‘no deal’. The Department has published guidance to industry and the health and care system to allow them to make informed plans and preparations. This is available online at GOV.UK.

The Department has since written to all suppliers of medicines to the United Kingdom on 26 March to advise them of the changes to EU exit dates and asked them to continue with preparations to protect patients in all possible outcomes.

The Government has been working closely with industry to ensure the supply of medicines, including vaccines, can continue uninterrupted in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit. This work has included building stockpiles, providing additional warehousing space and buying freight capacity on alternative ferry routes. There is cross-Government agreement that all medicines and medical products will be prioritised on these alternative routes to ensure that the flow of all these products may continue unimpeded.

Public Health England (PHE) manages significant stockpiles of vaccines for the national immunisation programme, as part of their business-as-usual planning. PHE is working closely with vaccine suppliers to ensure replenishment of these existing stockpiles continues in the event of supply disruption in the UK.

We are confident that, if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products will be uninterrupted.