James O'Brien reacts to Alok Sharma 'casting Covid vaccine approval as a British triumph'

2 December 2020, 15:19

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment James O'Brien reacted to Business Secretary Alok Sharma saying the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine being approved is demonstrative of the UK leading the charge against the disease.

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccination to start as early as next week.

In response to the news, Mr Sharma tweeted: "The UK was the first country to sign a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech - now we will be the first to deploy their vaccine.

"To everyone involved in this breakthrough: Thank you. In years to come, we will remember this moment as the day the UK led humanity’s charge against this disease."

James responded: "That's the Secretary of State for Business trying to write a new verse of Rule Britannia.

"After the triumph of a vaccine developed in Germany by a company led by scientists of Turkish extraction in conjunction with a pharmaceutical giant based in America and under the auspices of the FDA, Alok Sharma sought to cast that as somehow a British triumph. God knows how.

The LBC presenter then read out a tweet in response to Mr Sharma from German Ambassador to the UK Andreas Michaelis.

Mr Michaelis tweeted: "Why is it so difficult to recognise this important step forward as a great international effort and success? I really don't think this is a national story. In spite of the German company BioNTech having made a crucial contribution, this is European and transatlantic."

Referring to Mr Michaelis' tweet, James said: "I think that as these divisions remain between us, these sort of explanations are so powerful because either you side with reason here or you pick a flag and just start waving it regardless of the facts."