‘Contagion’ Movie Shaped U.K.’s Vaccine Rollout, Hancock Says

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the 2011 movie “Contagion,” depicting the breakdown of society during a pandemic, influenced his planning for the roll out of coronavirus vaccines.

“In the film, it shows the moment of highest stress around the vaccine program is not in fact before it’s rolled out,” Hancock told LBC radio on Wednesday. “It’s afterwards, when there is a huge row about the order of priority.” The British government asked for “very early” clinical advice on who should get the shots first and laid it out to the public, he said.

Almost 10 million people have received their first dose in the U.K. program, which ministers see as the route to lifting lockdown measures crippling the economy. Hancock said he “insisted” early on that the government ordered enough doses for every adult to receive a full vaccine course.

The government has set a target to vaccinate about 15 million of the people most vulnerable to the disease by mid-February. But there is growing debate about whether teachers, police officers and other key workers should then get priority for doses.

Hancock was asked again about the movie starring Kate Winslet and Matt Damon in a later interview with ITV on Wednesday. “It wasn’t my only source of advice,” he replied, laughing.

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