Health Secretary Matt Hancock has vowed to take the new Covid-19 vaccine with Piers Morgan following the news that the UK regulator has approved the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine.
The health secretary was speaking on the ITV morning show about the news of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine being approved for use in the UK.
A rollout of the vaccine is expected to start next week with NHS staff, care home staff and those 85+ first in line to get it.
However, some are concerned about the safety of the vaccine due to the short turnaround in its creation, despite government officials saying it’s safe.
Following Piers’ announcement that he would take the vaccine live on air to show people that it is safe, Mr Hancock announced that he would do the same.
“I’ll take it with you Piers. I think you have to show leadership in these things.”
Piers added: “I’m serious, I’ll come to where you are, any time next week, if we can do this and let’s do it together live on air. It would be powerful. It would send the right message, If you take it, I take it, Susanna takes it, Dr Hilary takes it. I think it will have an impact.”
“We would have to get that approved because of course there is a prioritisation according to clinical need and thankfully as a healthy middle-aged man you are not at the top of the prioritisation but if we can get it approved… I’m up for doing that. Once the MRHA have approved a vaccine, they only do it when it’s safe. If that can help anybody else, persuade anybody else to take the vaccine, then I think it’s worth it,” Mr Hancock said.
Addressing the concerns over the safety of the new vaccine, Mr Hancock said: “The vaccine wouldn’t be approved by the regulator if it wasn’t clinically safe. But also, what I would say is don’t listen to me, listen to the clinicians, listen to the experts, people like Jonathan Van Tam, JVT as he’s become known. He is an expert in these things. He’s said he’s called his mum and said, ‘Mum if you get the call from the NHS make sure you get there and get vaccinated.”
Mr Hancock continued: “What I am really pleased about is the proportion of people in the country who are happy to have the vaccine is actually increasing at the moment. We track this really carefully. When you compare the UK to other countries around the world, we are one of the top in the world, in terms of the portion of people who are willing to take the vaccine.”
Asked if there could be roll outs before Christmas, he said: “Let’s hope so [that the vaccine will come before Christmas]. The other early one is the Oxford AstraZeneca one.” He added it was “logistically and operationally easier” due to the fact it didn’t need low temperatures when delivered.
In the Commons former minister Sir Desmond Swayne also said high-profile celebrities should throw their weight behind the vaccination drive.
He said: ‘The way to persuade people to have a vaccine is to line up the entire Government and its ministers and their loved ones and let them take it first, and then get all the luvvies, the icons of popular culture out on the airwaves singing its praises.’
He added people would not be restricted if they decided not to take the vaccine.
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