Scottish Daily Mail
THE UNION JACCINE
No 10 ‘wanted British flag on vials from Oxford’
DOWNING Street pushed for the Union Jack to be branded on every Oxford vaccine dose, i t was claimed yesterday.
No10 officials allegedly suggested that the injection kits – developed by Britain’s top university alongside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca – be labelled with the flag.
The idea received strong backing from Westminster Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, according to the Huffington Post.
It is understood the plan was initially conjured up by No10’s new ‘Union unit’, tasked with battling an apparent rise in calls for Scottish independence and other campaigns to break up the UK.
Yesterday, Downing Street said there were no plans for the Union Jack to be on doses – but did not deny that the request had been made.
A spokesman for the Government said: ‘Manufacturing for some of the leading potential vaccines is already underway so they can be rolled out quickly if approved.
‘ Manufacturers are wellversed in the best way to package products like this.’
It i s thought that Boris Johnson’s aides also hoped that promoting the British success of the Oxford vaccine would boost global goodwill for the country. A Whitehall official told HuffPost UK there has been ‘renewed interest’ in recent months on gaining support for the Union.
‘It is something we have to be constantly mindful of,’ she said. ‘They are trying to keep the Union intact.’
Other Westminster insiders are said to believe using the GB brand would instil public confidence amid the antivaxxer movement.
There has been recent close scrutiny of the Oxford vaccine after it was found to be 70 per cent effective on average, but 90 per cent effective with a low- dose jab followed by a standard booster injection.
This much higher result, based on a sub- group of around 2,700 people, was initially met with excitement.
But concerns were raised when it emerged that no one in the group was reportedly over the age of 55.
Makers of the vaccine have said they plan to conduct an additional global trial to further assess the drug.
‘Trying to keep the UK intact’