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UK health secretary says ‘Contagion’ movie convinced him to purchase 100m vaccine doses

  • Published at 03:06 pm February 6th, 2021
Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock
File photo: Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock attends a session on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, at the House of Commons in London, Britain, February 2, 2021 Reuters

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the film played a major role in his decision to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for the UK

Remember Contagion, the movie that caused mass distress across Facebook at the beginning of the pandemic? We definitely remember. The terrifying scene where scientists create a vaccine but then people receive doses based on their birthdays scarred us throughout 2020.

It looks like UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s also a fan of the infamous movie! He says that the suspenseful scene in the movie played a large part in his decision to purchase Covid-19 vaccines (yes, really) for the UK, according to Vice News. 

Hancock - who reportedly initially declined the recommendation to purchase 100 million doses of the vaccine in contrast to the recommended 30 million doses -  told radio station LBC: “In the film, it shows the moment of highest stress around the vaccine program is not in fact before it’s rolled out, when actually it’s the scientists and the manufacturers working together at pace. It’s afterwards, when there is a huge row about the order of priority. So not only did we in this country, I insisted, we ordered enough for everybody, every adult to have their two doses.”

“But also we asked for that clinical advice on the prioritization very early, and set it out in public – I think, for the first time, we set it out in August or September, so that there was no big row about the order of priority. But instead we asked the clinicians, and we do it on the basis of how we save the most lives the most quickly,” he added.

9.6 million people in the UK have been inoculated for the Covid-19 vaccine, and 500,000 people have already received both doses. Vaccination procedures are currently grouped according to different categories - the elderly, frontline workers, people who are clinically vulnerable and care home residents and staff.

Around the world, only the US, Seychelles, Israel, and the UAE have managed to vaccinate more people in proportion to their population compared to the UK. We’re not sure if the UK should be implementing government decisions based on movie scenes featuring Matt Damon, but it seems to be working!

Sky News first reported Hancock’s interest in the movie, quoting an adviser as saying that the UK health secretary “kept referring to the end of the film.” The adviser wished to remain anonymous.

In an interview with GMB today, Hancock said that the movie wasn’t his only source of advice on the issue, which is definitely reassuring.

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