Jonathan van-tam

Coming soon: No. 10’s vaccine home movie

‘Extraordinary. Unexpected. Fantastic’ is the tagline for the latest drama out of No. 10 Downing Street. Only this time the stars are not Carrie and the Vote Leave crew but Patrick Vallance, Chris Whitty, Kate Bingham, Jonathan Van-Tam and the other civil servants behind the UK’s vaccine programme. A brief 51 second clip was released this afternoon on the official Downing Street Twitter account and has already gone viral. Billed as ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’, details of the homemade docu-drama have so far been scant.  The initial trailer features interviews with the protagonists interspersed with dramatic clips from throughout the pandemic and a suitably melodramatic score. Steerpike understands the idea

Matt Hancock’s ‘don’t panic’ press conference

After a day of worrying headlines over the potential risk of the South African variant, the takeaway of Monday’s press conference was clear: don’t panic. Both Matt Hancock and deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam were at pains to reassure the public over the threat the new variant presents. With a small sample study suggesting the Oxford vaccine has a lower efficacy against the South African strain, Hancock urged the public to stick with the current vaccination programme.   Van-Tam said the aim was to get to a point where coronavirus can be treated like seasonal flu With 147 confirmed cases of the South African variant so far identified in the UK, Van-Tam said the Kent

Boris’s clash over masks

‘Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government programme,’ the free market economist Milton Friedman famously noted. So just how permanent will social distancing measures be? As more positive news about vaccines and their distribution rolls in, it will be a question that grows louder: how much longer will we be asked to live with Covid rules, and might anyone make the case for keeping them in place after the virus is under control? We caught a glimpse of the different opinions circling Whitehall tonight, when the Prime Minister and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam clashed over the future of mask-wearing. During the Covid press conference, the Sun asked