Next stop Strictly? Number 10 wheels out its ‘favourite’ health chief Jonathan ‘JVT’ Van-Tam to promise Santa will be the FIRST to get jab as metaphor-loving expert makes his debut on This Morning with Holly and Phil
- Jonathan Van-Tam has been deployed to reassure the public on Covid vaccine
- Deputy chief medical officer has won accolades for forthright and colourful style
- Insisted Santa is getting a jab and dismissed ‘nonsense’ anti-vax propaganda
The deputy chief medical officer was deployed by ministers to reassure the public in a media blitz, after winning accolades for his forthright and colourful communications style.
And he did not disappoint, confirming that a ‘special case’ had been made for Santa as well as telling Holly and Phil on ITV’s This Morning that he was ‘tearful’ when he heard about the breakthroughs on inoculations.
Speaking via video link rather than on the sofa, Prof Van-Tam bluntly dismissed ‘anti-vax’ propaganda about safety risks, saying his was ordering his own mother to get a jab. ‘It is extraordinary nonsense,’ he said. ‘I don’t give it any credence and I don’t give it any air time.’
Prof Van-Tam has previously appealed for Britons not to ‘tear the pants out of’ a looser lockdown, and likened the cutting-edge scientific quest for treatments to a football penalty shoot out.
Jonathan Van-Tam told Holly and Phil on ITV’s This Morning that he was ‘tearful’ when he heard about the breakthroughs on coronavirus inoculations
Mr Van-Tam was asked by a mother during a BBC phone-in whether she could reassure her children that Father Christmas (file picture) had been vaccinated
Jonathan Van-Tam cemented his cult status during a media blitz today as he insisted Father Christmas has been given the coronavirus jab
Downing Street has increasingly come to rely on the expert to get its message across, even though he can cause a stir. Last night he contradicted the PM by suggesting that the country might never completely return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic.
Referring to the exchange with the premier, Prof Van-Tam said today: ‘In actual fact I think Boris got it right and I don’t think I explained myself properly.’
Earlier, Mr Van-Tam was asked by a mother during a BBC phone-in whether she could reassure her children that Father Christmas had been vaccinated.
‘Oh, absolutely. The JCVI made a very special case for Father Christmas and he is going to be absolutely at the top of our list,’ Prof Van-Tam said solemnly.
He also told BBC Breakfast that his mother called him ‘Johnny’, saying he had instructed her that she must get the vaccine when invited.
And discussing his communications style, he said: ‘I love metaphors. I think they bring complex stories to life for people. It’s great.’
Prof Van-Tam was asked why the UK is the first to approve the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, and said: ‘We are the first to approve it because we’ve been really, really organised about this from the word go.
‘I started focusing behind the scenes on getting vaccines and vaccine preparedness back in March – actually quite a bit before the vaccine taskforce, which has been absolutely brilliant, was formed.’
Downing Street has increasingly come to rely on prof Van-Tam (left with Boris Johnson and NHS England chief Sir Simon Stevens) to get its key messages across, even though he can cause a stir. Last night he contradicted the PM by suggesting that the country might never completely return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic
He added: ‘This began with conversations with Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government chief scientific adviser, and from the word go we’ve been on the front foot, being clear that we needed vaccines as soon as was safely and assuredly possible.
‘And the MHRA, our regulator, has just been superb in this space and taken unprecedented steps to see data early, and that’s why we are where we are.’
He also said the manufacturers have ‘moved at real pace’.