THE ‘best of Britain’ will be needed to help organise the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in coming months, Labour leader Keir Starmer said as he visited Oxford today.

The opposition leader warned that a ‘clear strategy’ was needed from the Government for how communities across the UK will receive the jab as he visited the labs where Oxford scientists are developing a vaccine.

The visit comes after a second company, Moderna, has announced that its efforts to engineer a vaccine are proving more than 94 per cent effective, following on the heels of an announcement by Pfizer about the effectiveness of its vaccine last week.

The Labour leader has written to the Government, calling on them to create a strategy for how to disperse the successful vaccines equitably across the UK in coming months.

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Mr Starmer said the visit to the Oxford University Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine near the Churchill Hospital was an ‘opportunity to say thank you’ for the work of scientists developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

But he added: “We move hopefully to Oxford declaring their results soon I hope and the amazing work they are doing here.

“But then there is a challenge of rolling this out across the UK which is why we are calling for the Prime Minister to use the best of Britain to pull everybody together to get this rolled out as soon as possible.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds. Picture: Labour

The MP for Holborn and St Pancras added his party was prepared to ‘work with the Government’ on a cross-party basis to get the vaccine where it was needed most, and emphasised it should be given to the vulnerable and frontline health and care workers first.

The UK Government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a priority list for those who should get the vaccine first.

Among those at the top of the list are all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers.

Mr Starmer also warned about other challenges the Government faces ahead of the vaccine being rolled out.

He said: “We need to deal with anti-vax disinformation and make sure that money isn’t wasted on some of the contracts we have seen in other areas such as test and trace.”

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The Labour leader said a ‘proper process, value for money and making sure that what is delivered is actually measured properly’ were all ways in which the Government should monitor any contracts it awards for administering successful vaccines.

Mr Starmer was accompanied on his visit by Oxford East Labour MP Anneliese Dodds, who praised the work of scientists living in her constituency.

Ms Dodds, the shadow chancellor, also said that ‘logistical questions’ were ‘really critical’ ahead of any vaccine being rolled out across the country.

Oxford Mail:

The two Labour MPs visiting the centre where the Oxford vaccine is being developed

She said: “Unfortunately we haven’t had the test trace and isolate system working in the UK as it has in other countries. The country has been behind because of a lack of decent coordination from central government.

“We can’t have that happening with the vaccine; that is what we are pushing on now.”

Today, US-based company Moderna announced its vaccine is protecting 94.5 per cent of people who receive it from coronavirus, based on trials.

Last week, Pfizer announced it vaccine was effective in 90 per cent of people.

Both vaccines use small pieces of the Sars-Cov2 virus’ genetic code to provoke an immune response in people.

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The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is yet to make an announcement about similar levels of efficacy, and both Labour politicians were guarded today when asked whether the scientists developing it had made any predictions about when it might be ready.

However, the Oxford vaccine is likely to be a lot cheaper than the Pfizer vaccine for the UK taxpayer, as it does not need to be stored at as low a temperature as its rival.

The UK Government has hedged its bets on which vaccine will prove to be the most successful and has pre-ordered supplies of many different vaccine candidates in readiness for rollout.

However, the Moderna vaccine is not among the ones which the UK Government has placed on order.

In September, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson also visited the centre where the Oxford vaccine is being developed.