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The NHS is deploying a new tactic in the Covid vaccination drive – a lighthearted video by Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Caine to help persuade people to get the jab.
The singer and actor have teamed up in an attempt to reassure the public that the vaccines are safe and effective, and the best way to tackle what John calls “this wretched disease”.
In the 90-second film John pretends to audition for a part in an advertisement to promote vaccination, and acts out having a jab before starting to sing his 1983 hit I’m Still Standing. After several takes the director says: “Thanks, Elton, we will let you know.”
The singer, who has sold around 300m records, replies: “Well at this short notice you won’t find anyone bigger.”
The video then cuts to double Oscar winner Caine having the vaccine, pointing out that it “didn’t hurt” and then adding: “Not many people know that”: a reference to the words which many people – wrongly, he insists – believe to be his catchphrase.
“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,” John said. “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.”
Both John, who is 73, and Caine, who is 87, have had the vaccine. While a large majority of those aged 70 or over have been inoculated, NHS bosses and ministers are keen to encourage the 750,000 people in that age group who have still not had the vaccine to book an appointment.
The duo are the latest celebrities to help the NHS encourage the public to have one of the two vaccines that are being used in the UK. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough, chefs Prue Leith and Mary Berry, football manager Harry Redknapp, singer Sir Tom Jones and actor Dame Judi Dench are among the well-known faces who have also had theirs.
Star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen said he was “euphoric” to receive his first dose in December. He tweeted afterwards: “I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.”
Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Well over nine out of 10 people aged 75 or 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.”
The NHS is on course to have vaccinated or offered to vaccinate all 14 million people in the four groups deemed the highest priority by the 15 February deadline Boris Johnson has set.
The film will be hosted on Twitter and on NHS England’s website from today.
Source: The Guardian
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