Tesco to the rescue as supermarket giant offers to deliver Oxford Covid vaccine

Tesco has offered to help roll out Covid jabs with refrigerated lorries and warehouses to help millions of people to receive the vaccine, reports say.

The supermarket giant's subsidiary Best Food Logistics has spare capacity as thousands of restaurants and pubs are shut and are seeking to put their facilities to use.

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine must be stored in a fridge, meaning the right supply chain is crucial.

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, said 530,000 doses of the Astra jab will be available from Monday for priority groups, including those over 80, care home residents and health and care workers.

The UK Government have ordered 100 million doses, in addition to the 30 million already ordered of the Pfizer vaccine already being used.

Mr Hancock said both orders will provide enough for two doses for the entire British population.

Industry experts have raised concerns over how quickly the NHS can complete immunisations without external help, reports The Telegraph.

The Govt is yet to respond to the support being offered by businesses.

Richard Wilding, professor of supply chain logistics at Cranfield School of Management, said: “The chilled food supply chain had conversations a month ago about helping out with vaccine distribution in anticipation of approval of this vaccine.

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“I’m not sure if the NHS has the existing capacity to handle moving 100m doses very quickly. I would expect to see logistics experts from the military who can cut through the politics brought in to help, and also commercial operators which would allow distribution to be ramped up very quickly.

“I believe working together they can get the vaccine out to everyone who needs it within a few months.”

The Oxford jab was approved by regulators on Wednesday morning, following the news that the number of patients in hospital being treated for Covid was higher than during the first wave peak in April.

As of December 30, there were 50,023 new cases, and a 19.9% rise of positive tests over the last seven days (283,337).

981 people also died from the virus, recorded on December 30, with 3,497 people dying over the past week.

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