Matt Hancock tells LBC how film Contagion alerted him to global vaccine scramble

3 February 2021, 08:38 | Updated: 3 February 2021, 13:28

Matt Hancock inspired by Contagion in vaccine strategy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Matt Hancock has explained to LBC how he learned lessons from the film Contagion when planning how the coronavirus vaccine would be rolled out in the UK.

The Health Secretary said the Hollywood film, starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law, inspired him to be quick to order enough doses for the UK public and plan an early priority list.

He told Nick Ferrari that he "wouldn’t say that film is my primary source of advice on this", but added: "I knew when the vaccine came good... that the demand for it would be huge and that we would need to be ready to vaccinate every adult in the country and I wasn’t going to settle for less.”

READ MORE: One dose of Oxford Covid jab can 'reduce transmission of coronavirus by two thirds'

READ MORE: Don't go shopping in variant-risk areas if you don't have to, Hancock tells LBC

Contagion, a 2011 thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh, tells the story of public health officials and medical experts scrambling to contain a new deadly virus and introducing a vaccine to halt its spread.

The fictional virus, which kills between 25 and 30% of those who catch it, is caused by an interaction between a bat and a pig.

Mr Hancock said: “In the film it shows that the moment of highest stress around the vaccine programme 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 order of priority.

“So not only in this country I insisted that we order enough for every adult to have their two doses but also we asked for that clinical advice on the prioritisation very early and set it out in public I think for the first time... in August or September so that there was no big row about the order of priory.

Matt Hancock: The vaccine supply is lumpy

"Instead, we ask the clinicians and we do it on the basis of how we save most lives most quickly."

Government data up to January 31 shows 9,790,576 jabs have been given in the UK so far, 9,296,367 of which were first doses and 494,209 were second doses.

The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 388,971.

Based on the latest figures, an average of 407,402 first doses of vaccine would be needed each day in order to meet the Government's target of 15 million first doses by February 15.

However, the daily rate has been increasing ahead of the deadline in two weeks' time.

Data for January 30 showed 598,389 people were vaccinated in the UK.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

It comes as a TikTok sleuth who joined the hunt for missing teen Jay Slater said he believes the 19-year-old remains trapped in a Tenerife ravine.

Jay Slater's family blast trolls over bogus leads following sightings on the ‘Eurostar’ and ‘watching the Euros’

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

Four men found dead in car following horror collision with tree

The M25 motorway closures are to set to cause travel chaos

Motorway misery: M25, M4 and M1 closures set to disrupt drivers this week – find out if you’re affected

Giovanni Pernice is expecting to be cleared following a misconduct probe, it is understood.

Ex-Strictly pro Giovanni Pernice 'expects to be cleared' amid misconduct allegations

The Prince Albert memorial has been 'considered offensive'

Prince Albert Memorial branded 'offensive' as it reflects 'Victorian view of the world'

Lord Falconer has said 'the time has come' for assisted dying reform

'The time has come': Lord Falconer calls for 'significant' assisted dying reform ahead of his new bill being introduced

An independent review recommended teachers and nurses get 5.5% pay rises

'There's also a cost to no deal': Treasury minister hints at above-inflation pay rise for public sector workers

Yvette Cooper vows to crackdown on illegal immigration

Beauty salons and car washes to be targeted in illegal immigration blitz as Home Secretary redeploys Rwanda scheme staff

Sarah Justine Packwood, 54, and her husband, Brett Clibbery, 70.

Mystery as Brit woman and husband attempting to cross Atlantic found dead in lifeboat one month after going missing

Exclusive
Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Five days of big names: LBC announces guest host week

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves vows 'big bang' for pensions as government launches review in bid to boost investment and savings

Amanda Abbington has claimed Giovanni Pernice was 'cruel and abusive'.

Strictly's Amanda Abbington breaks silence over 'cruel' Giovanni Pernice - as first female pro under fire

Donald Trump spoke at a rally for the first time since he was shot in the ear

Donald Trump says he ‘took a bullet for democracy’ at first rally since assassination attempt

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Man charged with arson after bus set on fire in Leeds riots over children allegedly removed from local family

Craig Revel Horwood has said the recent allegations have come as a 'shock' to him

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood breaks silence after 'shock' of dancing show's abuse allegations

A series of Israeli strikes have been launched against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah in Yemen

Israel launches series of air strikes on Houthi-controlled city in Yemen day after group claim deadly attack on Tel Aviv