Elton John, It’s a Sin star Lydia West and more urge Britons to get the coronavirus jab

Elton John smiles against a grey background

Elton John was among a band of British stars urging people to get the coronavirus vaccine as part of a new campaign by the NHS.

The venerable singer, 74, was joined by the likes of iconic stand-up comedian Lenny Henry, model Liz Hurley and It’s a Sin star Lydia West.

It sees the constellation of stars pretend to audition for the awareness campaign all the while busting pernicious myths around the vaccine that may hold some people back.

Health officials said in a news release that they hope the two-minute clip will notch a welcomed boost in vaccination uptake in what has become one of the most sprawling peacetime mobilisations in British history.

As NHS England confirms that 90 per cent of people over 45 in England have received at least one dose, it puts Britain’s pace of vaccination as the second highest in the world. Beaten only by Israel and the United Arab Emirates, according to groups monitoring the global rollout.

“People in the black, Asian, ethnic and minority community are 20 per cent less likely to take up the vaccine,” opens Henry in the video.

While West theatrically tackled concerns some may have over the vaccine, such as stressing “it doesn’t contain pork or any material of animal origin”.

“There is no evidence that it affects fertility,” she added.

Doctor Foster actor Navin Chowdhry continues: “There is no scientific evidence to say that the vaccine is any less effective in people from ethnic and minority backgrounds.”

The video ends with Elton John auditioning, triumphantly saying his name only for casting directors to shrug him off.

But for professor Ara Darzi, a lawmaker and surgeon who commissioned the video, having such a starry lineup amplify the realities of the vaccine as a time when misinformation can gobble up the science is vital.

“Vaccines offer us the best chance of returning to normal life,” he stressed in the release, “and we are very fortunate to have a growing number of highly safe and effective vaccines that are already being shown to cut deaths and hospitalisations from the virus.

“But we know that some people, particularly younger generations and ethnic minorities, have worries that may stop them from taking the vaccine when offered.

“We must listen to the concerns people are voicing and with this campaign, we hope to offer reassurance and show how important it is to get vaccinated so that we can bring closer the end to this devastating pandemic.”

NSH England added that 120,000 appointments were booked before 9am Friday (30 April) as the phased distribution opens up to people aged 40 and 41.

It’s the latest milestone for a nation that botched so much of its earlier pandemic response.

The rapid rollout, in combination with lockdown measures, has blunted the spread of the virus as officials gingerly urge caution as the nation loosens up.

With a population of around 56 million, two-thirds of English adults have received the first dose and more than a quarter have been fully vaccinated, according to government statistics.