No Brexit delays for UK vaccine imports, minister says

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s transport minister said there would be no delays to the country receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from abroad even if the UK does not agree a trade deal with the European Union by the start of 2021.

“Yes I can rule that out,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Friday, when asked if the vaccine could be delayed due to customs checks or other difficulties, once the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on Jan. 1.

“First of all we have done an immense amount of work on border readiness,” he told the BBC.

“We’ve also signed a freight contract, which is upwards of 100 million pounds, to make sure we can get Category 1 goods in, which includes things like vaccines. So even if there are problems – which we very much hope there won’t be, and we plan for there not to be – we have a back up.”

Reporting by Sarah Young and David Milliken