Covid

Vaccine taskforce book for schools could prove a long shot

'We’ve forgotten vaccines, we take them for granted'

'We’ve forgotten vaccines, we take them for granted'

27 Nov 2022, 5:00

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A private equity investor has paid for a book on the UK’s vaccine taskforce to be sent to every secondary school in England.

Ian Armitage, who is also director at education support service The Key, said he wanted to “inspire a few students to pursue careers in science and applied science and think more positively about the world”.

The Long Shot, written by former taskforce director Kate Bingham and former Times journalist Tim Hames, charts the success of the vaccines squad in enabling the UK to become the first country in the world to deploy approved Covid vaccines.

Armitage paid Hames’ co-writing fee. He said the story explored “what’s involved in getting a drug or a vaccine approved and all the barriers faced”.

“We’ve forgotten vaccines, we take them for granted. In my life it’s one of the most impactful events I’ve witnessed,” he added. “I thought it was a really important story and we needed a book of record.”

His hope now is that copies will end up in school libraries. Such an endeavour had cost “a few bob”, including in distribution fees, he said. 

But it’s unclear how well this message is getting across to headteachers receiving the books.

An accompanying note from The Key reads: “We hope [the book] inspires young readers to learn how to make calculated choices, to build things from scratch.

“The Long Shot is to be read and shared so that readers at your school will find something that scratches an itch”.

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