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Health secretary to take charge of government Vaccine Taskforce

Image: Number 10 [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via Flickr 

Matt Hancock takes over cabinet-level ministerial responsibility for taskforce from business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng

Health secretary Matt Hancock is to take charge of the government’s Vaccine Taskforce, which was set up in April 2020 to drive forward the development and production of coronavirus vaccines.

Hancock will take over cabinet-level ministerial responsibility for the taskforce from business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the government announced on 1 March.

The government said the move will allow for “end-to-end oversight of the programme to sit with a single minister” and will “further strengthen relationships with the therapeutics taskforce and with other vaccination policies and programmes”.

However, it said the taskforce’s role would remain unchanged in its support for efforts to develop and procure Covid-19 vaccines by providing industry and research institutions with the resources and support needed.

The taskforce’s new structure is said to be similar to that in place for the Office for Life Sciences, which is also a joint Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy-Department of Health and Social Care unit.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed vaccines minister in November, will remain in his role across both BEIS and the Department of Health.