Downing Street sparks angry backlash with ‘shameless’ vaccine video

Andy Gregory
Thursday 11 March 2021 09:31
news

Downing Street has been lambasted as “shameless” over its decision to release a glossy documentary celebrating the UK’s coronavirus vaccine effort – likened to “propaganda” by prominent journalists.

Just weeks ahead of local elections, with the Tories experiencing a so-called “vaccine bounce” in the polls, the government released a short trailer for the apparently slickly-produced taxpayer-funded film on Tuesday.

The trailer features Netflix-style interview clips with the likes of health secretary Matt Hancock, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam, and the nation’s top medic Chris Whitty, as they discuss the urgent vaccine “mission”, backed by the dramatic and epic violins of Grant Newman’s “The Escape Plan Activated”.

It was posted on Downing Street’s official Twitter channel with the tagline: “‘Extraordinary. Unexpected. Fantastic.’ A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story. Coming soon.”

The full 30-minute film is expected to be released later this week and is reportedly described as a “thank you” to all those who helped with the vaccine effort.

But with the country still very much in the grips of the pandemic – which has claimed more lives in the UK than any nation in Europe – the “triumphalist” and “self-congratulatory” trailer sparked a fierce backlash from doctors, commentators and opposition politicians.

And some found it telling what the government had chosen not to focus its cameras on:

Meanwhile, others cracked jokes.

And anti-Brexit group Best for Britain even countered with a video of their own:

More: How will the pandemic and the government’s actions impact our livelihoods in 2021?

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