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The Long Shot
The inside story about the race to vaccinate Britain

An evening with Tim Hames

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Catapulted into an international crisis in April 2020, Kate Bingham knew the odds were heavily
stacked against a workable Covid-19 vaccine. Yet by December, the first NHS patient had
received a jab. This is the remarkable story of that staggering success, by the woman who
made it happen.
From a remote cottage, Bingham juggled vaccine suppliers, Whitehall and the media circus,
as deaths mounted and the world shut down. Political manoeuvring, miscommunications
and administrative meddling nearly jeopardised the project. But perseverance and expertise
paid off.

Monday 15th January 2024

The Bridge Room (upstairs), The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, London SW11 4PF

Arrive at 7 pm - Drinks at the bar
The talk starts at 7.30 pm
Optional dinner at 8.30 pm

Tickets £33 each.

The unmissable inside story of the race against the Covid-19 virus

‘Written with compelling verve and complete authority’

A compelling, non-partisan argument for dialogue between business and politics.’ DAILY TELEGRAPH


‘A fresh vision of how to lead in a crisis.’ FINANCIAL TIMES


‘[Kate Bingham] is a brilliant woman with a particular combination of skills, outlook, drive, connections, and experience... We were lucky to have her.’


The Long Shot is the insider view of how the Vaccine Taskforce beat the odds and won. David Bradley will interview Tim Hames about the the story behind it, taking questions from the audience.

Tim Hames reveals (inter alia)...

* Why the "venture capital mindset" (and fast decision-making) was critical to the Vaccine Task Force's success.

* Why the National Audit Office asked  Bingham to write up a detailed business case for the Vaccine Task Force when thousands of people were dying every day.

* The curious connection between the vaccine and the Morris Minor.

* How the UK's continued EU membership would have affected the UK's vaccine development and rollout.

* How Air Traffic Control was a significant factor in distributing vaccines.


* The NHS's unique advantage that made the UK the best country for vaccine trials.

*The similarities between how the SAS and Vaccine Task Force were founded - and the lessons for other government challenges (such as reducing the vast NHS backlog).

* Why Scientific advances enable vaccine development to happen within months when previously they'd need years.

* How the Vaccine Task Force whittled down 200 possible vaccines to just seven.

* Boris Johnson's critical role and the effect of Kate Bingham's direct telephone line to him forced officials to act.


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About Tim Hames

Dr Tim Hames started his career as an academic. He was a Lecturer in Politics at Oxford University from 1989-1996 specialising in American and British Government. He then moved to The Times where he became the chief editorial writer, a weekly columnist and regularly edited the newspaper as a whole. In 2009 he joined the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) as Head of Communications and Public Affairs and served as Director General of that organisation from 2013-2019. He is now an independent writer, consultant and senior adviser.


The Bridge Room (upstairs), The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, London SW11 4PF

From Chelsea, cross Abert Bridge, and the Prince Albert is on the right opposite the North West entrance to Battersea Park.

If, for whatever reason, we must cancel the talk or you (with at least five days' notice) can't make it, you will receive a complimentary ticket to another Revellers' Club talk. If there isn't a talk that you wish or can attend, you'll receive a refund.


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