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The Long Shot: The Inside Story of the Race to Vaccinate Britain

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Not only were we building the plane as we were flying it,” writes Kate Bingham, appointed by Boris Johnson in May 2020 to chair the UK Vaccine Task Force, “we were flying in the dark and simultaneously writing the instruction manual, and fielding endless petty questions from air traffic control asking about the strength of the orange juice we were serving to passengers.”

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph ahead of the book’s launch on Thursday October 20, Bingham – who emerged from the pandemic with a Damehood after leading the UK’s drive to buy a broad portfolio of effective Covid jabs – laughs at the memory. She also thinks the UK’s status outside the European Commission (EC) – who “did a bad job” – allowed the Government to be faster and “more nimble”.

Kate Bingham’s new book, The Long Shot, is a gripping account of the UK Government Vaccine Task Force’s response to the pandemic by a remarkable, determined, thoughtful, and practical individual who was at the heart of the critical decisions that had to be made. I spoke with her frequently through 2020 as we battled logistical headwinds and the media storms in development of the Oxford vaccine and was always better for our chats, absorbing the positive energy that she emanates and benefiting from her wisdom. Her clarity of thought and action in a such a dark and turbulent time is a seam running through the book, and I know for certain that her efforts saved many lives. But I have to disagree with the title, because the book shows that it really wasn’t such a "long shot" with Kate at the helm.'Bingham’s husband is Jesse Norman MP, then the financial secretary to the Treasury. Bingham has no difficulty demonstrating that this has nothing to do with anything, but that didn’t stop the Guardian’s jibes, its “chumocracy” tables and the rest. Roger Highfield and Peter Coveney Chaired by Irene Tracey Vice-chancellor’s Interview. Virtual You: How Building Your Digital Twin Will Revolutionise Medicine Sheldonian Theatre 12:00pm Fri 31 Friday, 31 March 2023 See this event The night in Oxford was the most beautiful event I have ever done. Not just the spectacular setting (of the Sheldonian), but an unforgettable evening.

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