Saturday, 6 Mar 2021

No 10 'wants Oxford Covid vaccine labelled with Union Flag'

No 10 requested that doses of the University of Oxford Covid vaccine are labelled with Union Flags, it has been reported.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca, which is said to be up to 90% effective, is still going through clinical trials, before it will be submitted for regulatory approval. The government has pre-ordered 100 million doses of the jab, which could be rolled out for vulnerable people by the end of the year.

It has now been reported that Downing Street’s newly formed ‘Union unit’ have called for the doses to be emblazoned with the Union Flag. The division is said to have been created with the aim of protecting the UK against calls for Scottish independence.

A Whitehall official claimed there had been ‘renewed interest’ in protecting the Union and ensuring that policy decisions are ‘in no way detrimental to the devolved nations’.

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They added: ‘It is something we have to constantly be mindful of. They are trying hard to keep the union intact.’

The idea of putting flags on the vaccine was backed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, the HuffPost UK. Others in government hoped the labelling would install confidence in sceptics unsure about the vaccine’s quick turnaround.

Downing Street said there were no plans to label the doses with the Union Flag, but did not deny a request was put in.

A spokesperson said: ‘Manufacturing for some of the leading potential vaccines is already underway so they can be rolled out quickly if approved. Manufacturers are well-versed in the best way to package products like this.’

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