Johnson praises women leading coronavirus vaccination drive

David Hughes, PA Political Editor
·1 min read

Boris Johnson used International Women’s Day to pay tribute to some of those involved in the fight against coronavirus.

The Prime Minister praised the work of Professor Sarah Gilbert, who helped develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, former vaccines taskforce head Kate Bingham, medical regulator boss Dr June Raine, and NHS England’s Dr Emily Lawson and Dr Nikki Kanani.

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“This International Women’s Day I want to pay tribute to some of the leading figures in the UK’s vaccination programme,” he said.

“Their ingenuity, dedication and hard work is an inspiration to all of us.”

Professor Gilbert’s work “helped to accelerate the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, meaning that manufacturing and the rigorous testing regime started early”.

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 8, 2021
NHS England’s Nikki Kanani was one of the women highlighted by Boris Johnson for their involvement in the Covid-19 vaccination effort (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Ms Bingham was credited with securing the “rapid vaccine supply for the UK” and spearheading the drive to recruit volunteers into clinical trials.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), led by Dr Raine, was the first watchdog in the world to approve the Pfizer vaccine for use, paving the way for the rollout of the jab.

Dr Lawson is leading NHS England’s vaccine deployment programme, while GP Dr Kanani is the medical director for primary care.