NHS bosses plan to enlist celebrities and “influencers” with big social media followings in a major campaign to persuade people to have a Covid vaccine amid fears of low take-up.
Ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of “very sensible” famous faces in the hope that their advice to get immunised would be widely trusted, the Guardian has learned.
Health chiefs are particularly worried about the number of people who are still undecided, and about vaccine scepticism among NHS staff. “There will be a big national campaign [to drive take-up],” said one source with knowledge of the plans. “NHS England are looking for famous faces, people who are known and loved. It could be celebrities who are very sensible and have done sensible stuff during the pandemic.”
No names are thought to have been confirmed. But NHS communications experts suggested privately that the footballer Marcus Rashford, who is widely admired for his child food poverty campaign, which has forced two government U-turns, and members of the royal family would be ideal recruits. Politicians will not be used, it is understood.