The UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care admitted that while the film isn't his primary source for the decision, it played a part.
UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock was initially advised to order 30 million Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations, but he decided to go with more than double of the COVID vaccines. Why? Hancock said the 2011 movie Contagion, which is about a deadly virus, ‘inspired’ him to do so. The movie shows the importance of securing enough vaccines for use once they have been approved. The crucial part is making sure everyone can access it once it’s made, not just producing a vaccine, reports UNILAD.
The movie features a stellar cast of Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The plot is eerily familiar, considering the movie came out over a decade ago! The plot revolves around a deadly virus that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struggle to deal with. Hancock said the movie isn't his primary source for the decision to order 100 million vaccines but it played a part.
He explained to Nick Ferrari on LBC, "In the film, it shows that the moment of highest stress around the vaccine program is not in fact before it’s rolled out when actually the scientists and manufacturers are working together at pace, it’s afterward when there is a huge row about the order of priorities. So, not only did we ensure that we ordered enough for every adult to have their two doses, but also we asked for that clinical advice on the prioritization very early and set it out in public […] so that there was no big row about the order of priority, but instead we asked the clinicians and we do it on the basis of how we save the most lives, most quickly."
Matt Hancock tells Nick Ferrari he was inspired to order 100 million doses of the Oxford jab instead of 30 million because of the film Contagion, which taught him there would be a scramble for the vaccine.@NickFerrariLBC | @MattHancock pic.twitter.com/H8SQiVM9hw— LBC (@LBC) February 3, 2021
According to BBC, the film was made in hopes of preventing a future worldwide pandemic. Epidemiologist Dr. Ian Lipkin, who was the scientific adviser for the film, said it took a "long time to try and get all the details as accurate as we possibly could make them". The health secretary said he knew the UK would need to be ready to vaccinate "every adult in the country", adding, "I wasn't going to settle for less in the same way that I wasn't going to settle for a contract that allowed for the Oxford vaccine to be delivered to others around the world before us. I was insisting we could keep the British public and all of the British public safe, as my primary responsibility as the UK health secretary is to the health of the nation." A former Department of Health and Social Care said to Sky News: "[Hancock] was constantly 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." The UK has secured 407 million doses of different coronavirus vaccines as of now, which is more than enough for the entire population.