Hancock’s half hour (watching Contagion) taught him the importance of securing enough Covid vaccine

Enterprise News And Pictures 11/10/20 Pic shows: Health Secretary Matt Hancock, shown here taking the morning train to Chester in a photo he posted on Twitter on December 4 2019. Mr Hancock has been accused of breaking Covid curfew rules by drinking in The Smoking Room bar in the House of Commons after 10pm. Matt Hancock has since denied breaching the government's 10pm drinking curfew in the House of Commons bar. His spokesperson insists he did not break any rules after the Mail on Sunday quoted a "senior Tory MP" who claimed Mr Hancock remained in the bar drinking wine until at least 10.25pm last Monday. House of Commons bars are now subject to the same rules as other English pubs and are legally required to close at 10pm with people off the premises by this time. Previously Commons venues were exempt from following the same rules because they are classed as "workplace canteens." Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle put a stop to this and said that bars in parliament must follow the same rules following a backlash over the exemption. The Mail online reports Matt Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and joked: "The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything." He then remained in the Smoking Room bar until at least 10.25pm, See story...

Matt Hancock watched the 2011 Hollywood blockbuster Contagion and that’s the reason he made sure he ordered plenty of Covid vaccines.

The Health Secretary said he watched the film about a deadly virus which convinced him the UK must order enough jabs for the entire population.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Contagion

He also said the movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon deals with the rows over who should get the virus first which helped him decide who should be prioritised in the UK and how the roll out should be played out.

Contagion looks at the sequence of events that would occur if a virus spreads around the world.

The Health Secretary told LBC Radio that Contagion wasn’t the “primary” source of the decision-making process but made him realise that once a vaccine was approved that the demand for it would be “huge.”

“In the film it shows the moment of highest stress around the vaccine programme is not in fact before it’s rolled out – when actually it’s the scientist and the manufacturers working together at pace. It’s afterwards when there’s a huge row about the order of priority,” he said on the radio.

“I insisted we ordered enough for every adult to have two doses but also we asked for that clinical advice on the prioritisation very early and set it out in public, I think for the first time in August or September, so that there was no big row about the order of priority.”

Epidemiologist Dr Ian Lipkin was the scientific adviser on Contagion, who said it took a “long time to try and get all the details as accurate as we possibly could make them”.

He said the film was devised in the hope it would help prevent a worldwide pandemic such as the coronavirus outbreak happening in the future.

The UK has secured a total of 407 million doses of various vaccines which statistically should prove more than enough to cover the entire population.

The EU sparked a fractious political row with threats to impose checks on the Northern Ireland border to prevent vaccines produced in the EU from reaching the UK.

They clashed with both the UK government and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca over their vaccine shortage after EU bureaucracy and their failure to order vaccines quickly enough resulted in them ending up waiting in the queue for distribution.

Maybe EU chiefs were sidetracked watching “Lost in Translation” instead of Contagion, the 2003 romantic comedy-drama starring Bill Murray, who plays a fading American movie star who is having a midlife crisis.

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