Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. Learn more.
Elton John and Michael Caine help the NHS promote COVID jabs
Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Caine have joined forces in a new video to encourage people to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
Showbusiness giants, who are both in their 70s and 80s have been vaccinated by the NHS, recorded the comic 90 second clip to show others that getting the life-saving jab is easy and safe.
More than 10 million people in England have already been vaccinated and the NHS is now asking anyone aged 70 or over who has not yet been vaccinated to come forward to be protected.
The new film to promote the jab was organised by Lord Ara Darzi who leads Imperial REACT COVID Surveillance Study Group, a friend to the two stars, and shot at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Sir Elton John said: “I wanted to take part in this film to help show people the benefits of getting vaccinated and how it helps protect ourselves and the people we love.
“So, I hope we can all come together and do our bit in the fight against this wretched disease.”
The film shows Sir Elton, 73, ‘auditioning’ for an advert promoting the jab.
The singer says: “The more people in society who get vaccinated, the more chance there is of eradicating the national COVID pandemic.
“It’s really important to know that the vaccines have all been through and met the necessary safety and quality standards.”
Sir Elton then pretends to get the jab before bursting in to his 1983 hit I’m Still Standing.
The unimpressed ‘director’ tells him “thanks Elton we will let you know” to which he replies: “Well at this short notice you won’t find anyone bigger”.
The film then cuts to Sir Michael, 87, who says that the vaccine “didn’t hurt”, adding his famous catch phrase: “Not many people know that.”
Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS said: “Well over nine out of ten people aged 75 and over have already taken up the offer of their NHS COVID vaccination, and now we want to encourage everyone in the high priority groups to do so.
“That’s why we’re grateful to Sir Elton and Sir Michael for helping the NHS promote vaccine uptake, building on the fast and efficient programme to date, which has seen the NHS already vaccinate 1 in 4 adults across England.”
Professor Lord Ara Darzi, co-director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London and Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, also thanked the stars for giving up their time.
Lord Darzi said: “I am really pleased that Elton and Michael were keen to do this video, to show how quick and easy it is to get vaccinated and why it’s so important.
“They recognise that the vaccines approved by the medical regulator are safe and effective and the more people who have them, the sooner we will curb the pandemic and get the country, and the world, back to normal. I am very grateful to both of them for their generous participation and thanks also should be given to the brilliant writer Stephen Pipe and Producer, Clare Gibson who both generously gave their time to this.”
The NHS is delivering COVID vaccinations at more than 1,500 sites across the country and is on track to have offered a jab to everyone in the top four highest priority groups by the middle of this month.
Most people need to wait to be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to receive it. However, people aged 70 or over who have not yet been vaccinated can now arrange a vaccination through the national booking service, which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, without first being contacted.
The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable slot is not available people can also contact their GP practice direct.
Those who have received a letter asking them to shield because they are clinically extremely vulnerable should be contacted by their local family doctor.
NHS England is supporting general practice with an extra £10 for every vaccination given to someone who is housebound.
Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their vaccine.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus, outside of a clinical trial, when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on the 8 December 2020.
The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, was jabbed on January 4 2021.