Following its success during the COVID-19 pandemic, the functions of the Vaccine Taskforce will be embedded as a permanent part of government structures.
- Core functions of the Vaccine Taskforce will move to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), with the onshoring programme joining the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), in the autumn
- The move will ensure the innovative approaches, skills and operating model that have been such a key part of the UK’s pandemic response are retained
The core functions of the Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) will merge with UKHSA and the OLS in the autumn, the government has announced.
The VTF was set up in 2020 to meet the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19 with the objective of securing effective vaccines for the UK as quickly as possible. The VTF was successful in securing the earliest access to the Oxford/Astra Zeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, allowing the UK to be the first country in the world to deploy an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The VTF has also played a critical role in supporting efforts to distribute vaccines globally. The UK was one of COVAX’s earliest and largest donors, helping the organisation to deliver 1.5 billion doses worldwide to date.
The vaccine programme is well established, and contracts are in place with manufacturers to continue to support the UK’s vaccination programmes for this year and next, including access to reformulated vaccines. People should continue to come forward for their COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses when eligible.
From October, the vaccine supply responsibilities of the VTF will move to UKHSA to establish a permanent function. Staff from the VTF will become part of a new directorate within UKHSA to ensure a smooth transition and embed learnings from the VTF.
Responsibility for the VTF onshoring programme will move to the OLS, a joint unit of the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
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