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The Pandemic People: Dame Catherine Elizabeth Bingham

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Duration: 0:51:39 | Added: 15 Apr 2023
Kate Bingham, a British venture capitalist, discussed her role in the UK's COVID-19 vaccine rollout and her leadership of the vaccine task force and the importance of diplomacy in the global fight against COVID-19.

In this episode of his podcast, Sir Andrew Pollard was joined by Kate Bingham, a venture capitalist where she is currently a managing partner, who played a crucial role in the UK's COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Bingham started by explaining what a venture capitalist does and her background, skills and how she brings in experts to ensure the investments are robust and are there to help when needed.

The conversation then shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic and how Sir Patrick Vallance assembled a team to help with the possible rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Bingham was recruited to lead the Vaccine Task Force and had to recruit her own team to manage the enormous task ahead. She talked about diplomacy and how they were not competing with any country but rather the COVID-19 virus itself.

The conversation provided an inside look into what was happening within the Vaccine Task Force and the wider team that covered legal and manufacturing aspects. Bingham talked about the deals on the 190 vaccines that were in some level of development in the period of May-June 2020 and how the government made their choices. They had to produce a business case and then picked 10-12 vaccines for COVID-19, looking into the different formats of vaccines. The UK had the first vaccines approved in the world, and Bingham discussed how the UK was ahead of the game. They also discussed how the US worked against the clock for vaccine rollouts and how they used teamwork to work together.

The conversation then delved into which vaccine would be the most promising and what data was available, focusing on the science and clinical aspects in the fast-paced time of the pandemic. Bingham talked about the technical issues they faced and how important timing was for the Vaccine Task Force.

She also discussed whether she would have done things differently within her team during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and how she would push harder if given the chance. They talked about the importance of building relationships with each manufacturer of the vaccines, being ready for other strains of the virus, affordability, and pushing forward to secure vaccines and act to be ready if this happens again.

Bingham also talked about the relationship between her team, the media, and the government during the peak of the pandemic and the issues they could have faced. She discussed how they got things done under the radar.

Overall, the conversation provided a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes work that went into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the UK, highlighting the importance of teamwork, diplomacy, and building relationships to achieve a common goal. It also shed light on the challenges and technical issues faced during the pandemic and the importance of being ready for future outbreaks.

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