Step inside the vaccine distribution centre gearing up for the booster jab rollout

  • Watch the full report from ITV Central's Dani Crawshaw

Staff at a vaccine distribution centre in the East Midlands say they're incredibly proud of the work they've done in the fight against the Coronavirus.

With more than three-quarters of the UK's adult population double jabbed and 105,900 lives already saved, according to Public Health England's latest figures, the UK's Covid-19 vaccine rollout has been dubbed the success story of the pandemic so far.

Workers at the Movianto centre say they are standing by to help in the vaccine booster programme, which the government has confirmed will start next week for the most vulnerable.

It's the first time the centre has opened its doors for the public to see how they have been working behind the scenes throughout the pandemic:

"We're the experts in the field. Vaccine distribution is what we do day-in, day-out. But even we had to take a deep breath at times," says Paul Wilkinson, Managing Director of Movianto UK.

The firm was procured by PHE to be responsible for the central storage of the UK's Covid-19 vaccine stock, and behind a network used to distribute it around the country.

"Before we began working on it, neither a roll-out plan nor a supply chain for a vaccine that needed to be stored at -75°C, existed. It had never existed, anywhere in the world. We had to start it from scratch.

"Back in August 2020 - even before we knew if any of the vaccines would be viable - we were getting ready for the rollout."

This warehouse can store 40 million Pfizer vaccines alone, but distributing them in the biggest immunisation drive in NHS history posed many logistical challenges.

Packing up the Pfizer vaccine for distribution requires it to be kept on dry ice to maintain the cold temperature of -75 degrees.

Once the freezers are opened, the team have just 60 seconds to get the vaccines out, otherwise the freezer temperature drops and the other doses can be damaged.

The company is no stranger to vaccine distribution, having been responsible for large parts of the seasonal flu programme for the NHS in the UK.

Although these vaccines need careful handling and special distribution methods, they are much simpler to manage than the Covid versions, as they can be stored at standard fridge temperatures.

This Midlands team are proud of their achievements over the past year, having been the vital link between those producing the vaccines, and those being given them.

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