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UK Covid-19 vaccine development and rollout

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UK Covid-19 vaccine development and rollout

As of April 2022, almost 80% of the UK population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – almost 53 million people. Few projects touch so many lives in such a short space of time, but the UK’s vaccine rollout is no normal project. The Vaccine Taskforce was set up in April 2020 to secure access to promising Covid-19 vaccines as quickly as possible and strengthen the country’s capability in vaccine development and manufacturing. It is a multi-departmental entity – a mix of civil servants, industry experts and contractors to ensure deep cross-sector expertise in vaccine development, regulation, manufacturing and project management. A higher-stakes project within a more pressurised context is difficult to imagine, but the taskforce was praised for the speed of its decision-making and focus on outcomes rather than process.

“We needed to focus on outcomes rather than procedure and to do this at speed. The answer was to design bespoke governance and to build trust and confidence with the key decision-makers across all of government.” – Nick Elliott, former Director-General of the Vaccine Taskforce, speaking to APM’s Project journal 

2 December 2020 – the UK becomes the first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

It took just three weeks for the taskforce to get from trial results to distribution and deployment

141,282,879 total Covid-19 vaccinations given in the UK as of April 2022