The scientists who helped develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have praised the Duke of Sussex’s comments urging governments to inoculate poorer countries.
Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Professor Catherine Green were honoured with the heroes of the year prize at the 2021 GQ Men of the Year Awards.
They were introduced by the duke, who made a surprise virtual appearance at the star-studded ceremony.
Harry delivered a speech blaming “mass-scale misinformation” for vaccine hesitancy and calling for jabs to be given to poorer countries.
Prof Green, who was part of the team that designed the AstraZeneca jab, said she echoed his comments.
She told the PA news agency: “We didn’t know that was going to happen, so suddenly Prince Harry’s on stage. And he said all of the things we wanted to say about the necessity to get vaccines to the world for people irrespective of their ability to pay. A really important message.”
Dame Sarah, who co-designed the AstraZeneca vaccine, also agreed with the duke.
She told PA: “We’re not going to be safe until everybody is safe and it’s really important to get the vaccine to everybody around the world.”
Harry hailed Dame Sarah, Prof Green and the team behind the AstraZeneca vaccine as “heroes of the highest order” who “have done their part”.
While they spent Wednesday evening rubbing shoulders with A-list stars, the scientists said they will be back in the lab and hard at work on Thursday.
Prof Green described the ceremony as “surreal,” noting the attendance of Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page.
And Dame Sarah said she hopes her success can pave the way for more women in science.
She said: “I always wanted to be a scientist when I was a schoolgirl, I didn’t see why I wouldn’t be. It’s not always easy to see how that career’s going to pan out but I hope more women will consider it now.”
Prof Green added: “And it’s also great fun to do. It’s a great career, it’s creative and dynamic, you work with brilliant people. What’s not to like?”