COVID-19: Falkland Islands to receive 3,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine | UK News
At 1.10am on Monday, a military aircraft containing 3,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine departed RAF Brize Norton.
It is a continuation of the UK government’s pledge to provide vaccinations to British Overseas Territories such as the Falklands.
General Captain Simon Blackwell stated his support for the mission in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence.
“Tasks like this are exciting for our teams to support and send out vaccines to overseas territories.
“Being an island, the Falklands can be quite a challenging route to fly to, with tricky weather en route.”
Logistically, the mission requires careful planning and controlled temperatures to ensure a safe delivery.
Anne Scott, Flight Lieutenant Officer commanding cargo, highlighted the importance of the environment on board the aircraft.
“The ideal control temperature is 10 to 25 degrees,” she said.
“We are used to moving medicinal cargo with a different temperature, but we need to maintain this required temperature for the vaccines.
“The captain maintains that throughout the flight.”
Leona Roberts, member of the Falklands Islands Legislative Assembly, welcomed this development in the worldwide fight against COVID-19, saying it was a positive step in protecting the community of just over 3,500 people.
“Although we are 8,000 miles away, we are very much part of the British family.
“We are aware of how difficult things are in the UK, so we are extremely grateful to the UK government for supporting us. It’s going to make a huge difference.”
As a British Overseas Territory, the defence and foreign affairs of the Falklands are managed by the UK government.
With the Army deployed to help distribute vaccines and testing facilities in the UK, they are also obliged to do the same with its territories overseas.
Upon finalising logistics, the Falkland Islands’ government plans to vaccinate the over-50s, those at mid-term risk, and front-line staff including medical workers.
On Monday afternoon, the vaccination plans will be voted on for approval by the executive council.
A smaller, second batch of the vaccine is expected to arrive in a couple of weeks.
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