Labour has slammed Downing Street for spending taxpayers’ money for a ‘propaganda’ documentary about the vaccine roll out.
No10 shared a dramatic trailer for the official documentary on Britain’s race for a Covid-19 jab, titled 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.
But Labour figures have condemned the video, which does not currently have a release date.
Angela Rayner MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said: ‘Sorry for the spoiler, but we already know the plot twist will be the Prime Minister choosing to cut the pay of the same nurses delivering the vaccine to the British people, while handing out billions in contracts to Conservative Party donors and cronies.’
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner called on the Government to share how much money was spent on the documentary, saying it would have been better spent on ‘pay rises for the NHS staff who have been saving lives throughout the pandemic’
Ms Rayner called on the Government to share how much of taxpayers’ money was spent on the documentary ‘and for what purpose’.
A Downing Street source told The Guradian the video was taxpayer-funded, but said it was all made in-house.
Ms Rayner added: ‘Surely the money would be better spent on pay rises for the NHS staff who have been saving lives throughout this pandemic and are now rolling out the vaccine.’
Referring to the NHS pay dispute, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds tweeted yesterday: ‘Is the twist that the Conservatives cut the pay of the people delivering the vaccine?’
Labour MP Taiwo Owatemi wrote: ‘Nurses made this rollout a success so give them a pay rise.’
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 yesterday is called: ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’. Downing Street offered no release date, instead promising it was ‘coming soon’
The trailer also includes a flashback clip of Boris Johnson saying: ‘You must stay at home’
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