Week Ahead: Vaccine summit, Queen's coronation anniversary and Normandy memorial

A ‘vaccine confidence’ summit will take place along with a royal anniversary and memorial for the Normandy landings. John Blow looks at the week ahead.

Matt Hancock. Picture: PA.

Vaccine Hesitancy

The UK will this coming week host a global “vaccine confidence” summit aimed at driving uptake in people getting jabs against coronavirus.

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The Government said misinformation continues to pose one of the biggest threats to global recovery from the pandemic by damaging perceptions of the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines.

The UK is working throughout its G7 Presidency this year to improve access to coronavirus vaccines, treatments and tests around the world, and vaccine confidence is a key part of that.

Participants including Health Secretary Matt Hancock will on Wednesday discuss ways that governments, civil society and private sector – including social media companies – can tackle vaccine misinformation and amplify public health messages to improve vaccine confidence. Earlier this year The Yorkshire Post reported on campaigners in the region who were working to address vaccine hesitancy among some from various ethnic minority groups.

Heather Nelson, from the Leeds-based Black Health Initiative and a board member of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, had been involved in putting on local and national webinars allowing people to put their concerns to medical experts and hear the facts surrounding the rollout.

In February she said: “What the NHS needs to look at is the mistrust these communities have had for decades. That has never been worked on in the past.

“What Covid has done is expose the mistrust.

“What needs to happen and what has started to happen is to give information to these communities so they can make an informed choice.”

Nelson cited historical scandals such as the infamous Tuskegee Study which began in 1930s America and lasted for 40 years until it was uncovered.

Hundreds of African-American men were told they were getting free medical care for ‘bad blood’ but instead were left with deliberately untreated syphilis so researchers could study how the disease progressed.

She said another key issue was frequently-experienced racial health disparities in this country.

Milestone on the throne

The longest sitting monarch in the country, Queen Elizabeth II, will on Wednesday celebrate the anniversary of her coronation.

Though her reign began on February 6, 1952, after the death of her father, the coronation itself took place 68 years ago on June 2, 1953.

The anniversary takes on extra poignancy this year as it will be the first marked following the death of her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away aged 99 in April.

Elizabeth, now 95, was the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey.

She and Philip were driven from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Gold State Coach – pulled by eight grey gelding horses: Cunningham, Tovey, Noah, Tedder, Eisenhower, Snow White, Tipperary and McCreery.

It was the first coronation to be televised and for many, it was the first time they had ever watched an event on the small screen.

Normandy Memorial

Another anniversary will be that of the D-Day landings, which took place on June 6, 1944.

Also known as the Normandy landings, they were the largest amphibious invasion in history with more than 175,000 troops going ashore.

The British Normandy Memorial is to be officially opened next Sunday, in a ceremony to be watched by Normandy Veterans at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.