11 Nov COVID-19: Professor Jonathan Van Tam uses ‘mum test’ to reassure Britons over vaccine safety | Politics News
England’s deputy chief medical officer has said he will be encouraging his own mother to get a COVID-19 vaccine as he assured Britons that safety standards will not be compromised in the face of the public health emergency.
Professor Jonathan Van Tam, speaking at a Downing Street news conference, outlined how the regular development phase for a vaccine had been accelerated during the coronavirus crisis.
However, he stressed that “standards are no lower just because this is a public health emergency”.
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech this week released initial results that suggested their jab was 90% effective at protecting people from COVID-19.
Asked if he would be prepared to be among the first people to be vaccinated, Prof Van Tam said: “If I could, rightly and morally, be at the very front of the queue then I would do so because I absolutely trust the judgement of the MHRA [the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] on safety and efficacy.
“But that clearly isn’t right – we have to target most highest risk individuals in society and that is how it should be.
“If I could be at the front of the queue, then I would be.
“But let me say to you this, I think the ‘mum test’ is very important here.
“My mum is 78, she’ll be 79 shortly, and I’ve already said to her ‘mum, make sure when you’re called you’re ready, be ready to take this up, this is really important for you because of your age’.”