How nimble Britain won the race to secure jabs
THE UK built a strong portfolio of vaccines by being “nimble, cooperative and supportive” and offering help with trials and manufacturing, the former head of the Vaccine Taskforce says.
Kate Bingham, who led efforts to secure doses last year, revealed she celebrated with a glass of wine on Thursday after hearing that yet another jab her team selected had proven highly effective.
However, she said Covid vaccines could still be improved and may eventually be delivered as pills, patches or nose sprays.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “When we set up the Vaccine Taskforce in May we were clearly a small country relative to some others like the US or the EU or Japan.
“We were clearly at a disadvantage in terms of size and buying power, so the way we sought to address that was to be nimble and as cooperative and supportive as we possibly could be.”
Ms Bingham said the first step was to assist with clinical trials by launching the NHS registry, which now includes almost 400,000 volunteers.
The second was to provide support for companies to start manufacturing their vaccines.
She said: “Whether it’s supporting them on helping to procure equipment, to the scale-up, to the expertise that we’ve got in the team and that we bring within the industry in the UK, we’ve provided that.
“That was the UK offer, as it were. That’s how we were able to persuade Novavax to come and do their trials here and secure vaccines for the UK.”