Business Secretary calls on businesses to continue supporting vaccine rollout


The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has today called on businesses to continue to do all they can to support the national effort in rolling out the coronavirus vaccine, as pledges from individual companies continue to grow.

He paid tribute to leading businesses in the UK such as Marks and Spencer, Heineken and Boots who have made offers to repurpose vital workspaces, including warehouses, pubs and shops, to be used as vaccination hubs to support NHS staff in delivering the biggest vaccination programme in British history.

Business leaders are also allowing thousands of UK workers to take paid time off work to receive their jab, while also encouraging their staff, supporting crucial tasks such as checking patients in and guiding people at vaccinations sites across the UK.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “It has been awe inspiring to see businesses lending their hand over the past few months to our heroic healthcare workers and clinicians – all playing their part to support the biggest vaccination programme in our nation’s history. Businesses and their workers have shown an indomitable spirit and leadership that will help us to defeat this virus, and I urge all businesses, no matter how big or small, to join us and do what they can as we reach the next stage of the rollout.

“I want to thank British businesses for their ingenuity and collaboration which will help guide us towards the light at the end of the tunnel, which is getting brighter by the day.”

Industry reaction

Andrew Murphy, Executive Director at the John Lewis Partnership said: “Having worked with the Department of Health & Social Care to pilot and carry out over 60,000 workplace rapid tests since November, we are really proud to be supporting the rollout of the vaccination programme.”

Sacha Berendji, Retail Director at Marks and Spencer said: “Our colleagues have been helping to deliver essentials to the nation throughout the pandemic, as well as doing a huge amount in their own time to support the NHS and local communities. On top of this, we know they want to help roll out the much-needed vaccine so we’re pleased to do our bit in supporting involvement in the NHS Volunteer Responders campaign. To further support the vaccine effort we have also offered the use of our vacant property and queuing tunnels which can be used to protect people queuing in winter weather.”