Vaccine tsar Kate Bingham tells Lorraine she ‘wasn’t convinced’ she was the right person to oversee Covid jab taskforce and says it was her daughter, 23, who told her ‘she could do it’
- Kate Bingham, from London, spoke about taking job as vaccine taskforce boss
- Led procurement of vaccines last year and helped secure 350 million doses
- Appeared on Lorraine and said she had concerns about overseeing delivery
- Revealed it was her daughter Nell, 23, who convinced her to take the role
- Comes after it was announced she will be rewarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours
The ex-head of the Vaccine Taskforce Kate Bingham has revealed her daughter convinced her to take the job overseeing the delivery of the jabs.
The venture capitalist, from London, appeared on Lorraine this morning and spoke about her decision to take the unpaid role as chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce.
Kate is set to be made a dame for her work leading procurement of vaccines and helped secure more than 350 million doses of seven different vaccines, including 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 100 million doses of the jab developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca.
Kate, who is married to Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman, told the breakfast show host: ‘I was far from convinced that I was the right person to take this on. I didn’t think I was a vaccine expert to take this on to drive this.’
The ex-head of the vaccines taskforce Kate Bingham, from London, has revealed her daughter convinced her to take the job overseeing the delivery of the jabs
Kate told Lorraine: ‘Being a dame feels wonderful actually. It’s a wonderful accolade to the people I’ve been working with in the taskforce and generally.
‘it’s a wonderful day for women including Sarah Gilbert, who designed the Oxford vaccine, and the women in my team, and a whole bunch of ladies who have bought so much to the vaccination efforts in the UK.’
‘I was far from convinced that I was the right person to take this on. I didn’t think I was a vaccine expert to take this on to drive this. In hindsight, I’d bring in the vaccine experts.
‘What was needed was someone who could bring in all the different pieces and do so quickly. The Prime Minister had asked me ot do the job and bring vaccines quickly to the UK to stop people dying.’
Kate, who is married to Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman, told the breakfast show host her daughter Nell, 23, had convinced her to take the job
She said her daughter Nell, 23, had ended up convincing her to take on the task but added that she never found the job overwhelming, adding: ‘When I was questioning taking the job, my daughter said, “But Mum, why are you not just saying yes? You should go in and do the job because you know you can do it”.’
She explained: ‘We had a really important task and every day we took, we knew more people were going to die.
‘So it mattered to do everything we possibly could to bring the vaccine to the regulator to show the vaccines could start protecting the people most at risk.
‘We did work really hard but we had a really clear mission and it was an important mission. Everyone was pleased to be working hard.’
Kate said she didn’t think the pandemic was ‘entirely sorted yet’ but added that she believes the plan is ‘in place’
Kate said she didn’t think the pandemic was ‘entirely sorted yet’, but added: ‘The plan is in place that are being executed to address both variants to this virus so that we haven’t yet had any escape mutants.
‘All the vaccines are working – but we have plans in place when and if new pandemic viruses come in place so we can manufacture new vaccines and do clinical testing to show if vaccines are effective.’
‘I think we’ll be in a much better place moving forward.’
She called vaccinating children a ‘very fluid situation’, adding: ‘I would absolutely listen to what the JCBI say about the need to vaccinate children – or when they should be vaccinated.’
Kate said her daughter Nell had asked her why she wasn’t immediately jumping to take the job after being offered it by Boris Johnson
Meanwhile she said if her major legacy was getting more women into STEM subjects, she said that would be a fantastic outcome, saying: ‘All those listening to this today, please think about this as a career.
‘We’ve got lots of things that are constantly big social challenges and we need to find solutions to them.’
It comes days after it was announced Kate would receive a damehood for leading the UK Vaccines Taskforce and obtaining millions of doses of six different jabs.
Her ability to lead the UK’s efforts to find a coronavirus jab was initially repeatedly questioned because she had no experience of buying vaccines.
Her ability to lead the UK’s efforts to find a coronavirus jab was initially repeatedly questioned because she had no experience of buying vaccines
There were also cries of cronyism when she was chosen by Boris Johnson because she is married to one of his most loyal ministers, Jesse.
The Oxford and Harvard educated businesswoman even admitted herself she wasn’t a ‘complete expert’ in vaccines and was pondering turning the job down until her eldest daughter persuaded her otherwise.
But by January this year there were calls for her to be decorated as Britain raced ahead in the global race to vaccinate its population with some claiming that her appointment was one of the PM’s few inspired decisions of the first lockdown.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, said recently that the UK had ‘only got 30m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech because of her’ with others saying she secured millions more from other companies through sheer perseverance, using her contacts and demanding meetings with CEOs until they gave in.
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