Vaccine Taskforce boss Kate Bingham ‘to be made a dame’ for overseeing jab procurement success

The ex-head of the vaccines taskforce Kate Bingham is reportedly to be made a dame. 

Venture capitalist Ms Bingham will be rewarded for her efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Queen‘s upcoming Birthday Honours list, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

In her unpaid role as chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce she led 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

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.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, venture capitalist Ms Bingham will be rewarded for her efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Queen's upcoming Birthday Honours list.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, venture capitalist Ms Bingham will be rewarded for her efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Queen's upcoming Birthday Honours list.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, venture capitalist Ms Bingham will be rewarded for her efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Queen’s upcoming Birthday Honours list.

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.

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 Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

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. 

It came as Boris Johnson prepares to urge G7 leaders to ‘defeat Covid’ by vaccinating the world by the end of next year, as he pushes for a global watch system to catch new variants before they can plunge countries back into lockdown.

The Prime Minister is set to stress the importance of the global vaccine programme when he meets with world leaders – including with US President Joe Biden – on Friday in Cornwall for the first face-to-face G7 meeting since the pandemic hit.

Setting the scene before their gathering in Carbis Bay on June 11-13, Mr Johnson is calling on his counterparts to ‘rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era’ by ‘vaccinating the world by the end of next year’, in a move he said would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

It comes as Covid-19 cases have continued to surge in the UK amid reports the Prime Minister is considering delaying his target of lifting all restrictions in England on June 21 by at least two weeks in order to allow more people to be fully vaccinated.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end this terrible pandemic and pledge we will never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.’

No 10 said the Prime Minister will tell his counterparts that the world’s biggest economies must lower barriers to the international distribution of vaccines and share surplus doses with developing countries bilaterally and through Covax, the United-Nations backed scheme aiming to supply low and medium income countries with jabs.

Dr David Nabarro, a special envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organisation (WHO), described the global vaccination ambition as ‘wonderful’.

Speaking to Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme, Dr Nabarro said endorsement of the move at G7 level would make the possibility of having the world vaccinated by the end of 2022 a ‘real prospect’.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Johnson is preparing to hand over 100 million vaccine doses to developing countries, donating £2 billion worth of jabs this year to the worldwide push to vaccinate every human against Covid-19.

Most of the jabs will be batches of Oxford/AstraZeneca, the newspaper said.

The UK pledged in February to give surplus doses to Covax but has yet to donate any of the 400 million it has on order, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock arguing that there are no excess jabs available given the NHS’s own vaccine programme is still in full swing.

As part of the UK’s G7 presidency, officials said the Prime Minister will encourage support for a global pandemic radar, a surveillance system that will aim to detect vaccine-resistant variants before they have the chance to spread.

Downing Street argued that the UK had ‘led efforts to ensure the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people have access to vaccines’, referencing the part played by the Westminster Government in funding the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

With the jab made available at cost, No 10 said almost one in three shots administered around the world have been the Oxford vaccine, with 96 per cent of the 80 million shots administered by Covax supplied by AstraZeneca. 

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