Sir Richard Sykes Appointed Chair Of Vaccine Taskforce

More than half of all Britons have received both doses. Credit: Pixabay

The UK government has appointed Sir Richard Sykes as the new chair of the Vaccine Taskforce.

Sir Richard will use his extensive experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals to lead the significant programme of work to find, procure and deliver vaccines to support the largest vaccination programme in British history.

He has previously held senior positions in a number of internationally recognised scientific, pharmaceutical and medical organisations, within both public and private sectors – including as chairman of organisations including the Royal Institution of Great Britain, King Edward VII’s Hospital, UK Stem Cell Foundation and Singapore Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council.

Sir Richard also conducted an independent review of the strategy and goals of the Vaccine Taskforce in December 2020.

Sir Richard Sykes said, “I’m delighted to be joining a brilliant team to continue its incredibly important work on the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I am determined to make sure the UK remains in the best possible position to beat this virus and has the tools it needs to respond to future public health threats.”

Sir Richard will be overseeing the Vaccine Taskforce’s work as the UK’s vaccination programme continues at unprecedented pace. This includes helping with preparations for any potential booster programmes and working to make the UK a global centre of excellence for the next generation of vaccines.

The government established the taskforce in March 2020, and it reports directly to the Health and Social Care Secretary.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said, “The Vaccine Taskforce has done a tremendous job of securing the world’s first clinically-proven vaccines for COVID-19 and it’s fantastic that Sir Richard will be joining our renowned team with his extensive expertise.

“I look forward to working closely with him going forward to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to save lives and the country is well prepared for any health threats for years to come,” he added.

Over 41 million people in total across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose and more than 29 million people have had both doses.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.