UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 jab with ‘Good Morning Britain’ co-host Piers Morgan to show that it’s safe, but the proposed on-air vaccination has polarized the internet.
Hancock appeared on ‘Good Morning Britain’ shortly after the government announced on Wednesday that it had given the green light to the jab, developed in collaboration between US-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. The UK is the first country in the world to approve the vaccine, and hopes to begin administering the drug as early as next week.
During their discussion, Morgan volunteered to receive the jab live on television, suggesting that it would help relay to the general public that the vaccine was safe and effective.
“I’ll take it with you, Piers,” Hancock replied.
Morgan then proposed that he could meet up with the health secretary “anytime next week” and receive the inoculation “together live on air,” adding that the stunt would be “powerful” and “have an impact.”
Hancock noted that “there’s a prioritisation according to clinical need” for the drug, but that he supported the idea as long as it was approved by the UK’s health authorities. However, he said that, as a “healthy, middle-aged man,” Morgan probably wouldn’t be a candidate to receive the jab in the first roll-out.
The proposal has split social media, with observers expressing a colorful range of views about the potential televised vaccination.
Many expressed support for the idea while pointing out, as Hancock did, that neither men were health workers or in the at-risk groups that have been given priority to receive the jab.
One popular theory was that Morgan was motivated by personal interest rather than public health, and the television host was accused of trying to “queue jump.”
The on-air shot would be nothing more than a bad publicity stunt, others argued, urging the two “inflated egos” to stop making the health crisis about themselves.
The gimmick would be welcomed, but only if the pair were administered a truth serum, joked one snarky comment.
The Pfizer jab is said to be 95 percent effective, but some have argued that the vaccine’s rushed development makes it impossible to know if there are any long-term adverse health effects associated with the drug.