The Government has unveiled a dramatic trailer for an official documentary about Britain’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, called: ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’.
Professor Van-Tam describes Britain as having been ‘on a mission’ to make a vaccine, while Sir Patrick speaks about the ‘extraordinary, unexpected, fantastic’ achievement.
The short film was promoted on Twitter by the Prime Minister’s official @10DowningStreet Twitter account and on his Facebook page.
But the clip provoked criticism online from some who claimed it was a cover-up for Ministers’ perceived failings in other areas such as the Test and Trace programme.
Prof Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said in the trailer: ‘Back in March, we’re heading into lockdown. The NHS is coming under extreme pressure.
‘We were on a mission, and the mission was to get vaccines for the UK. It’s just a colossal effort that I don’t think people will realise has happened behind the scenes.’
Sir Patrick Vallance, who is Chief Scientific Adviser, said in his interview: ‘Most vaccines don’t make it, they fall over at some point along the way’
Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: ‘We were not absolutely confident at all that any vaccine would be possible’
Sir Patrick, who is Chief Scientific Adviser, said in his interview: ‘Most vaccines don’t make it, they fall over at some point along the way.’
He later added: ‘Extraordinary, unexpected, fantastic – it was one day of real joy and thinking, yes, there’s a way out of this.’
And Mr Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: ‘We were not absolutely confident at all that any vaccine would be possible.’
The trailer also includes a flashback clip of Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling the country: ‘You must stay at home.’
The release date has not yet been confirmed, but the @10DowningStreet Twitter account said it was ‘coming soon’ after posting the trailer about 3pm today.
The idea for the show is said to have come about in No10 ‘after the broadcasters showed little interest in telling the story themselves’, according to the Spectator.
The official documentary revealed today is called: ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’
The trailer also includes a flashback clip of Boris Johnson saying: ‘You must stay at home’
But, referring to the NHS pay dispute, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds tweeted: ‘Is the twist that the Conservatives cut the pay of the people delivering the vaccine?’
The advert was also criticised and lampooned by other social media users, who posted a series of memes of people looking unimpressed.
One tweeted an image of Mr Johnson and wrote: ‘This success with the NHS vaccine program doesn’t outweigh his ‘apparent success’ with Covid.
‘Quick to claim the credit but finds it impossible to take the blame he’s culpable for our worst death toll and no UNDESERVED headlines change that.’
Another tweeted: ‘Money for this and £37billion for a failed track and trace system but not for nurses? Really? You really are obnoxious and out of touch with reality.’
And a third said: ‘A Beacon of Hope in an otherwise s*** storm of failure and incompetence.
‘But hey, you make a little marketing video and convince yourself that you’re great. I look forward to the video explaining how the failed test and trace system cost us £32billion.’
Data up to March 8 shows that of the 23,773,959 jabs given in the UK so far, 22,592,528 were first doses – a rise of 215,273 on the previous day.
Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget included an additional £15billion for Test and Trace, taking the total bill to more than £37billion over two years.
It comes as a cross-party group of MPs said there is ‘no clear evidence’ that the Test and Trace scheme contributed to a reduction in coronavirus infection levels.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee, which was behind a critical report, urged the Government to justify the ‘staggering investment of taxpayers’ money’.
The MPs said ministers had justified the vast expenditure on preventing a second national lockdown, but noted England is currently living under its third in questioning the programme’s effectiveness.
Meanwhile Sir Keir Starmer demanded MPs be allowed to vote on pay increases for NHS workers, as he accused the Prime Minister of ‘breaking promise after promise’.
Mr Johnson repeatedly claimed a pay increase would be delivered for NHS workers and defended his Government’s spending record.
A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story will be released on a date to be confirmed