Kate Bingham, British Hero

Kate Bingham provided outstanding leadership to the delivery of vaccines in these Isles. Her efforts have likely saved many, many, lives, and this is a wonderful and fascinating interview with a modern British hero.

I’ve quoted some highlights below – but one lowlight of the interview was how it had to touch on the sexism that Kate Bingham had to endure in the British press. It is sad that much of the media coverage of her is dripping in offensive sexism that judged her on the identity of her husband, rather than celebrating her leadership in saving lives throughout these Isles.

On having a clear goal:

“The instruction I was given by the Prime Minister was to save lives as soon as possible, so we had a very clear goal. We had a very clear focus on being quick and securing the most promising vaccines for the UK as soon as possible. That was my number one priority and what we did.”

Kate Bingham: Why the UK strategy on Covid vaccines has been a great success

On focusing on giving first doses first:

The Astra-Zeneca “data has a spectrum of data of people who had their second dose after four weeks all the way up to those up to 12 weeks. And what they have been able to show is that the immunogenicity goes up with an extended time between doses. So it is correct that there is data to justify and extended period between doses for the AZ vaccine. I think it’s the right public health response, which is to show that you try and vaccinate as many people as possible, as soon as possible. Better to protect everybody a bit rather than to vaccinate fewer people to give them an extra 10 percent protection. I think it is the right public health response. If I was making that decision, I would have made the same decision.”

Kate Bingham: Why the UK strategy on Covid vaccines has been a great success

On the possibility of annual coronavirus vaccines:

“We need to get to a point where you can have a flu and a coronavirus jab simultaneously and not have to do them three weeks apart. Novavax was running a study co-administering with flu I think and we need ultimately to get away from two doses because that’s incredibly complex and expensive and logistically challenging. Ideally, we need to get away from needles because if you can induce an immune response by putting a patch on or spray or a tablet, that would be much, much easier, because certainly the cost in the UK of the vaccines is doubled when you add the cost of deployment as well.”

Kate Bingham: Why the UK strategy on Covid vaccines has been a great success

I particularly liked this part:

What did Prime Minister Boris Johnson say when he called you?
“”Just stop people from dying”. 

Kate Bingham: Why the UK strategy on Covid vaccines has been a great success