By 2021 Joanna Hilditch
My second podcast is an exclusive ‘bench-talk’ with Kate Bingham AKA the Vaccine Czar. Kate voluntarily chaired the Vaccine Task Force from May - December 2020 which was responsible for procuring 357 million doses of 7 vaccines across 4 different types now being rolled out over the last 4 months (NB only 3 vaccines rolled out so far – with others to follow), and has put us in the top tier of world vaccine progress. She hails from the Herefordshire Welsh borders, she’s married to our Hereford MP Jesse Norman, 58, and has strong affiliations with our county. Our bench this time is Arthur’s stone - a neolithic chambered tomb dating back to between 2700 - 3700 BC atop Dorstone Hill. With fabulous views both ways - Golden Valley and Wye Valley and a good starting point for many footpaths, this transmission is enhanced by bird song, baaing sheep and again a few gusts of wind.
Our conversation includes some exclusive material and covers areas around her growing up on these borderlands, her work chairing the vaccine force, how it was working with the government rather than in the private sector, her thoughts about the progress of the vaccine in Europe and beyond, her ideas on a revaccination strategy, her feelings around impostor syndrome as well as the customary 3 top tips for places to see or visit in Herefordshire. And if you have never heard about Bog Snorkelling Mountain Biking then listen on - it’s a laugh out loud moment. Kate is also passionate about the NMiTE initiative (our new Higher Education Institution in Hereford) as well as being determined that to attract the young and business people to our glorious county we must ensure excellent broadband and communications because there is certainly plenty to do once you get here.
Amongst all this serious material you get a feeling for Kate and why she is such a pioneer in her field, straight-talking, clever (despite the fact that at one point she says: ‘I’m not very clever…’!), down to earth and extremely determined. But there is humour and humility which makes for a charming conversation on top of Dorstone Hill sitting on our stony ‘bench’.
Listen here: Kate Bingham — Bench Talk (bench-talk.org)
UK government Vaccines Taskforce (VTF): 2020 achievements and future strategy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Kate Bingham - SV Health Investors