Bomb squad to industrial estate where Oxford jab is produced

A factory that produces and stores vital doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was ‘partially evacuated’ after it was sent a ‘suspicious package’ today.

A bomb disposal squad has been called to the Wockhardt pharmaceutical facility at Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales after staff received the parcel this morning. 

Wockhardt provides fill-and-finish services for the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine and is capable of producing up to 300 million doses of the vital jab each year.

A cordon has been put in place near the Wockhardt plant and the public have been asked to keep away.  

A spokeswoman for the company said: ‘Wockhardt UK in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package. 

‘All relevant authorities were immediately notified and engaged. Upon expert advice we have partially evacuated the site pending a full investigation. 

‘The safety of our employees and business continuity remains of paramount importance.’ 

There is nothing to suggest the investigation will impede vaccine production. 

A bomb squad (pictured) has been called out to a 'suspicious package' found at an industrial estate where the Oxford Covid vaccine is manufactured and stored

A bomb squad (pictured) has been called out to a ‘suspicious package’ found at an industrial estate where the Oxford Covid vaccine is manufactured and stored

It is unclear where on the industrial estate the purported suspicious package was found. Pictured: Emergency services at the scene

It is unclear where on the industrial estate the purported suspicious package was found. Pictured: Emergency services at the scene

A North Wales Police spokesperson said: ‘We are currently dealing with an ongoing incident on the Wrexham Industrial Estate.

‘The roads are currently closed and we would ask the public to avoid the area until further notice.’  

Gary Creighton – who lives near the industrial estate – said he was notified of the incident today by a friend who works at the the Wockhardt factory.

The friend said that the bomb squad had attended after a threat was called in. 

Mr Creighton said he believed the incident was a ‘bomb threat by antivaxxers’. 

A cordon has been put in place near the Wockhardt plant and the public have been asked to keep away (police at the scene, pictured)

A cordon has been put in place near the Wockhardt plant and the public have been asked to keep away (police at the scene, pictured)

He added: ‘The bomb squad is currently at Wrexham Industrial Estate following a threat.

‘It’s where the bottles for the Covid vaccine are being produced and nearby buildings have now been evacuated.’ 

Just last week, emergency teams were called out to Wrexham Industrial Estate to protect supplies of the Oxford jab from flood water.

Excess water surrounded buildings at Wockhardt’s pharmaceutical facility during a deluge of rain caused by Storm Christoph. 

Police are dealing with an 'ongoing incident' at the Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales (police at the site, pictured) - which was last week hit with severe flooding caused by Storm Christoph

Police are dealing with an ‘ongoing incident’ at the Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales (police at the site, pictured) – which was last week hit with severe flooding caused by Storm Christoph

The area is home to the Wockhardt pharmaceutical facility which can produce up to 300 million doses of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine per year. Pictured: Police at the scene

The area is home to the Wockhardt pharmaceutical facility which can produce up to 300 million doses of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine per year. Pictured: Police at the scene

The warehouse appeared completely empty with no equipment or machinery visible at the time.

The vaccines were believed to have been moved to a different, secret location. 

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.’

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