James O'Brien's instant reaction to the UK's approval of Covid vaccine

2 December 2020, 11:06

By Fiona Jones

This is James O'Brien's instant reaction to the announcement Pfizer's Covid vaccine will be rolled out from next week.

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.

The UK has become the first country in the world to have a clinically approved Covid-19 vaccine, with 40 million doses ordered - enough to vaccinate 20 million people.

Read more: Matt Hancock hails approval of vaccine on LBC, saying 'help is on its way'

While James hailed this extremely good news, perhaps the best day of 2020 he had said, he asked why there are a proportion of people resisting the vaccine and instead "questioning intellectual authority."

"The more people take this vaccine, the more we all benefit," said James, "that is a simple statistical fact...consensually speaking and scientifically speaking this is the best day of 2020. It's the best news we've had since the virus started."

"It is scant comfort to the 75,000 Brits who have perished, but it is comfort that other families are considerably less likely to endure similar tragedy."

James said the only fly in the ointment of today's news is the "real and present skepticism" regarding vaccines generally, and Covid vaccine particularly.

He continued that as a normal person he has little choice but to trust experts: "Why would I want to do anything different from that?

"You don't end up running the Royal Society unless you know what you're talking about."

He said that due to Brexit, senior politicians have spent years telling the public not to trust experts and are now calling for people to do so. He referenced minister Michael Gove who said in 2016 that "people have had enough of experts."

He observed, inviting people to prove him incorrect, "We seem to have lost a lot of respect for education."