Matt Hancock reveals UK vaccine strategy was inspired by Matt Damon film Contagion
The UK health secretary was asked on Wednesday about rumours the Hollywood film featuring an infected pig had inspired the vaccine roll-out.
Appearing on LBC, Mr Hancock insisted it was not the “primary source”, but had taught him there would be a scramble for all vaccines.
He said: "In the film it shows that the moment of highest stress around the vaccination programme is not in fact before it's rolled out – when actually it’s the scientists and manufacturers working at pace – it's afterwards, when there is a huge row about the order of priority.
“So not only in this country did I insist that we ordered enough for every adult to have their two [doses], but also we asked for that clinical advice on that prioritisation very early and set it out in public so that there was no big row about the order of priority.”
The senior Tory minister had overruled advice to get 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine and instead ordered 100 million, insisting “I wasn’t going to settle for less.”
Mr Hancock explained the film gave him “insight” into international competition to get hold of vaccines.
He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I did watch the film – it is actually based on the advice of very serious epidemiologists.
"So, one of the things I did early was insist that when we had the Oxford vaccine, and we backed it from the start and that was great, I insisted that UK production protects people in the UK in the first instance.
“And, as the UK health secretary, that is my duty.
"At the same time we are making it available at cost to the rest of the world – not enough people give AstraZeneca credit for that, other vaccine companies are making tens of billions of pounds from their vaccines."
Earlier in the pandemic it was reported Mr Hancock frequently reminded advisers of the film.
An adviser said: “He was always really aware from the very start, first that the vaccine was really important, second that when a vaccine was developed we would see an almighty global scramble for this thing.”
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