Vaccine minister reveals uncle died from coronavirus last week waiting for first jab

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Watch: Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid offer their condolences to Nadhim Zahawi

The UK’s vaccine minister has revealed he lost his uncle to COVID-19 last week and said it has made him “determined” to deliver doses as soon as possible.

Nadhim Zahawi, who oversees the Britain’s vaccine deployment, said the relative was eligible for a jab but was infected before receiving it.

He told Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain: “It’s painful, and it’s closer to home than you think, Piers, in terms of losing relatives and family.

“I lost my uncle last week to COVID, but you’re right it is grim and horrible but our way out of this is the vaccination programme.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Nadhim Zahawi arrives at the Cabinet Office, Whitehall, London, for a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss coronavirus.
Nadhim Zahawi has revealed his uncle died from coronavirus. (PA)

“It makes me angry, but it makes me determined to make sure we vaccinate the most vulnerable people in our country and protect them as quickly as possible and then protect the whole nation.”

He added: “That is our way out of this, that is ultimately what we will do and I promise you I will make sure that happens.”

More than 6.5 million people in the UK have been given their first dose of a vaccine, while just under 500,000 have received their second jab.

Zahawi’s latest challenge is the possibility that the European Union could look to block the export of the Belgium-manufactured Pfizer vaccine.

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The European Commission threatened to impose controls on vaccines amid continuing criticism of the slow rollout across the EU and a row with AstraZeneca over supply.

Zahawi told Sky News he was “confident that the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered”.

“Pfizer have made sure that they have always delivered for us, they will continue to do so,” he continued.

“They have made a very important announcement on the equitable supply of the whole world, including the European Union, and I’m sure they will deliver for the European Union, the United Kingdom and for the rest of the world.

“We have got 367 million vaccines that we have ordered from seven different suppliers, so I’m confident we will meet our target and continue to vaccinate the whole of the adult population by the autumn.”

Watch: What is long COVID?