Appoint minister to oversee vaccine deployment, says Labour

A government minister should be appointed to oversee the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine, it has been suggested.

The proposal, put forward by Labour, would see the creation of a “minister for the vaccine’, with an aim of providing accountability and to avoid repeating mistakes made over PPE procurement and test and trace.

The ministerial role would also involve regular updates to Parliament on the progress of the vaccination programme.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that a “Herculean effort” is needed to achieve the roll-out of a vaccine across the country.

He said: “After months of sacrifice, people are looking forward with hope to a vaccine that will save lives and provide a route out of lockdown restrictions.

“But after the ministerial mistakes over the procurement of PPE and the £12 billion for the failing Test and Trace system, nobody wants yet more avoidable mishaps.

“Boris Johnson must reassure the country that ministers have the resources and plans in places to deliver the vaccination programme as promised.

“We need a Herculean effort to achieve the roll-out of a vaccine at a magnitude and scale unlike any we have ever seen before. ”

Jonathan Ashworth
Jonathan Ashworth

Mr Ashworth also urged ministers to provide the resources needed to ensure the smooth deployment of a vaccine.

He said: “Our NHS has gone above and beyond this year but is exhausted and overstretched.

“We can’t limp into the next crucial period of our battle with coronavirus, the Government must urgently provide the resources necessary to ensure the speedy and smooth deployment of a vaccine.

“The necessary plans need to be in place now.”