United Kingdom

Fire crews tackle floods at Wrexham warehouse storing Covid vaccines

Emergency teams were called out to protect supplies of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine following flooding at a manufacturing site in Wales.

Excess water surrounded buildings at Wockhardt's pharmaceutical facility on Wrexham Industrial Estate during a deluge of rain caused by Storm Christoph.

This afternoon, water was still being pumped away from outside the warehouse, which remained surrounded by flooding.

One worker swept rubbish away before driving a mini-digger and dumping plasterboard into a skip.

The warehouse appeared completely empty with no equipment or machinery visible, with the vaccines believed to have been moved to a different, secret location.

Excess water surrounded buildings at Wockhardt's pharmaceutical facility on Wrexham Industrial Estate during a deluge of rain caused by Storm Christoph

This afternoon, water was still being pumped away from outside the warehouse, which remained surrounded by flooding

One worker swept rubbish away before driving a mini-digger and dumping plasterboard into a skip

The leader of Wrexham County Borough said authorities worked 'through the night' to ensure that the site was not overwhelmed by flood water.

Mark Pritchard said on Thursday morning  resources such as gullies had been put in place to protect the vaccine storage facility on the industrial estate.

'I'm sure you are aware that the Oxford vaccine is manufactured there and we had to work with the company logistically with their storage facility, that was under possibility of flooding,' he told Sky News.

'So we worked through the night with that and that was a success. This could have had an impact not just in Wrexham, Wales, but across the whole country with the vaccination supplies.'

The leader of Wrexham County Borough said authorities worked 'through the night' to ensure that the site was not overwhelmed by flood water

Mark Pritchard said on Thursday morning resources such as gullies had been put in place to protect the vaccine storage facility on the industrial estate

The fill-and-finish stage of the vaccine's production is undertaken at the facility (pictured today), which was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November

He added: 'They were under pressure, they had serious concerns that their warehouse logistically could be flooded.

'They asked us for help and support and without hesitation, we gave them that support.'

All 'necessary precautions' were taken to prevent disruption to the manufacture of the jab, according to a spokeswoman for Wockhardt UK.

'Last night at approximately 1600 hours, Wockhardt UK experienced mild flooding, resulting in excess water surrounding part of the buildings across site,' the spokeswoman said in a statement.

'All necessary precautions were taken, meaning no disruption to manufacturing or inlet of water into buildings.

'The site is now secure and free from any further flood damage and operating as normal.'

The fill-and-finish stage of the vaccine's production is undertaken at the facility, which was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November.

The company said it has had a presence in Wrexham for over two decades and employs more than 400 people at its manufacturing facility.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: 'Very serious flooding situation across Wrexham and Flintshire overnight.

'The Vaccine Taskforce here in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been in touch with Wockhardt UK this morning and have been assured that staff are safe and that there will be no disruption to the supply of vaccines.'

The company said it has had a presence in Wrexham for over two decades and employs more than 400 people at its manufacturing facility

It comes amid uncertainty over the speed of the vaccine rollout as ministers blame 'supply constraints' for a three-day blip that raised fears the NHS drive had stalled. Pictured: The Wrexham warehouse today

The firm's building has it's motto 'Life Wins' written on the side of it in Wrexham, north Wales, today

It comes amid uncertainty over the speed of the vaccine rollout as ministers blame 'supply constraints' for a three-day blip that raised fears the NHS drive had stalled.

But official data yesterday sparked hopes it was still on track, as more than 346,000 jabs were given on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson - who today took a helicopter from London to view the flooding - said the UK was on schedule to inoculate 14million vulnerable people by mid-February.

The Government must average more than 350,000 doses a day until February 15, with the previous bullish tone from officials getting toned down in recent days.

Pfizer's supplies have been dented by a factory upgrade which will continue into next month.

Sources also cite factors such as 'intermittent' deliveries and trouble contacting the remaining over-80s and covering care homes.

MPs have also voiced concern at the way supplies have been divvied out across the country.

In London - which has given the fewest jabs - the allocation is said to have been based on take-up of last season's flu vaccine, which was relatively low.

Football news:

Cavani has returned to training and is likely to play against Crystal Palace
Fabio Capello, Juventus played Rugby against the Port. Only Ronaldo and Chiesa can make a difference in this squad
Neymar: I posted how I was recovering from my injury, and I didn't get any messages saying, Wow, what a professional. No
Ole Gunnar Solscher: The work of the judges is very difficult and without additional pressure. We have to make their decisions
Joan Laporta: I'm sure Messi won't stay at Barca if I don't win the election. He gives the club 30% of revenue
Trent had idolized Gerrard since he was a kid, and he was in a fairy tale: he got Steven's care and the captain's armband. The story of a great relationship
Hazard's recovery from the injury is delayed. He probably won't play against Atletico on March 7