What recent discussions he has had with (a) other Departments and (b) local leaders on the logistics of distributing covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.
In his response to the urgent question on Tuesday, the Minister for Defence Procurement said that it is not for the Ministry of Defence to suggest that it should do the logistics. I think he was being unusually shy. My right hon. Friend the Paymaster General will know how good the armed forces are at logistics, so will she ask the Ministry of Defence to definitely get involved in the deployment of the covid-19 vaccine when it is available?
I thank my hon. Friend for affording me the opportunity to pay tribute to the work that our armed forces have done across many aspects of this, often visibly but also behind the scenes in providing planning expertise. They have provided in an incredible service to every aspect of the response. This is a massive undertaking—the largest vaccination programme, I think, in the NHS’s history—but, as the deputy chief medical officer has said, plans for it have been under way for some time. That includes logistics, transport and personal protective equipment, but also an expanded workforce so that we can deploy it rapidly. Every part of Government is going to be making a contribution to that, and as soon as the vaccine is approved, we want to be in a position to deliver it to as many people as possible.