Matt Hancock's love of Hollywood virus film Contagion inspired Britain's Covid vaccine rollout
MATT Hancock's love of the Matt Damon film Contagion helped inspire Britain's vaccine rollout.
The Health Secretary is said to be obsessed with the 2011 thriller, which tells the story of a mystery virus sweeping the globe killing millions of people.
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He said he overruled advice and ordered 100million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine once it became available due to lessons learned from the film.
Mr Hancock's knowledge of Contagion meant he was able to predict that there would be a scramble for the jab across the world.
He told Good Morning Britain: "One of the things that I did early was insist that the UK [vaccine] production protects people in the UK in the first instance."
A scene in the film which shows the vaccine being given out in a lottery had a strong impact on Mr Hancock.
An ex-adviser told Sky News: "He would keep referring to the end of the film.
"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."
Another source told The Guardian that Mr Hancock used the lottery scene as an "illustrative example".
"The UK vaccine effort was in no way built on the epidemiological model of watching a film – it was an illustrative example," the source said.
"He would say: 'We’ve all seen Contagion, right?' It was helpful."
Contagion has some eerie similarities to the Covid pandemic.
The film's fictional virus outbreak begins in China, with a bat infecting a pig before the bug spreads to 'Patient Zero', played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
GETTING THE JAB DONE
All adults in the UK are reportedly on track to receive both jabs of a coronavirus vaccine by August this year.
The UK has already given out more than 10million Covid vaccines with almost 400,000 Brits a day receiving jabs in the last seven days.
internal Government projections show that all adults could be vaccinated by the end of summer in an accelerated programme, according to The Times.
Nearly nine in 10 over-80s and half of over-70s have had their first jab, with the Government on target to offer vaccines to all over-70s by February 15.
Over-65s could start receiving their Covid vaccination invite letters next week as the UK's jab rollout powers on, it's reported.
And the next phase, for those over-50 and young people at greater risk, is due to be completed by Spring.
Boris Johnson is yet to set specific targets for later stages but a senior government official told The Times: "There's no secret plan to vaccinate everyone by the end of May but it's fair to say that summer isn't seen internally as wildly overoptimistic.
"The growing use of pharmacies to deliver the jabs will further accelerate the programme.
"As we go down the age groups it's going to be easier for people to travel a bit to get a jab or to do it in their lunch hour and each week that passes the capacity is growing."
But the pace of the rollout depends on supplies being delivered on time and in full.
It comes as new research found the AstraZeneca Covid jab slashes transmission, raising hopes of lockdown easing by Easter.
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