Sir Patrick Vallance, known as Dr. Doom thanks to his leadership of the always pessimistic SAGE during the pandemic, is stepping down. MailOnline has more.
Sir Patrick will resign from his job, which pays up to £185,000-a-year, in April.
He will then take up the role of chairman of the Natural History Museum’s Board of Trustees.
Boris Johnson said: “Sir Patrick may not have bargained for becoming a household name when he signed up for the job.
“But I am immensely grateful for his advice and expertise throughout the pandemic and beyond.“
The outgoing PM added: “It is impossible to fully convey the impact that Sir Patrick has had as Chief Scientific Adviser.
“He has played an instrumental role in expanding and accelerating the science super prowess of this country.
“Overseeing the development and innovative use of new technologies, responding to the global threat of climate change, boosting the life sciences and health of our nation, and ensuring our policies and decisions are informed by the latest and best scientific thinking.
“It’s our scientists and clinicians, led by Sir Patrick, Sir Chris, and their team, that oversaw the largest vaccine rollout in British history together with my government.
“He will be missed by all when he leaves next year, and I wish him the very best in all future endeavours.”
That’s quite a fulsome tribute and glosses over some of the less impressive aspects of Sir Patrick’s reign.
For instance, no mention of the fact that he initially embraced ‘herd immunity’, before rejecting it as laughably naive. Here’s the Guardian on Sir Patrick’s position before he U-turned:
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Sir Patrick Vallance suggested that building herd immunity in the U.K. through widespread transmission could be the UK’s strategy for handling the pandemic.
On March 13th 2020, Sir Patrick Vallance, speaking to the BBC’s Today show, said the key things the UK needed to do was to fight the pandemic was to “build up some degree of herd immunity”, saying that because the vast majority of people with coronavirus get a mild illness, herd immunity would mean that more people are immune to the virus and transmission would be reduced.
As for “the development and innovative use of new technologies”, does Boris mean Britain’s ‘world class’ £37 billion Test and Trace system, which the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee described as muddled, over-stated and eye-wateringly expensive? Presumably not.
Not to mention that “the largest vaccine roll-out in British history” may yet turn out to be the largest medical scandal in British history, given how ineffective and unsafe the Covid vaccines are proving to be. And the expense, almost as eye-watering as the useless Test and Trace system. As we reported in May, the U.K. has used just 142 million of the stockpile of 650 million vaccine doses it purchased, leaving an estimated £4 billion worth of vaccines unused.
And, of course, he was instrumental in the decision to lock us down in March 2020, as well as in November of that year and again in January of 2021. Those decisions, which caused catastrophic harms in education and healthcare and led directly to the current economic crisis, while producing no discernible benefits, will surely come to be regarded as the worst ever made in the country’s history.
If only Anders Tegnell had been the U.K.’s Chief Scientific Officer in 2020 how different things might have been.
I doubt Sir Patrick is going to retire and chairing the National History Museum is hardly a full-time job. What’s the betting he takes up a consultancy position with a large pharmaceutical company? Sit Patrick worked for GlaxoSmithKline from 2006 and 2018, before leaving to become the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer. It emerged in 2020 that Sir Patrick had £600,000 of shares in GSK at the time the company was contracted by the British Government to develop a Covid vaccine, having already cashed in £5 million worth. No. 10 put out a statement at the time, saying: “The Government chief scientific adviser has no input into contractual and commercial decisions on vaccine procurement, which are taken by ministers following a robust cross-Government approvals regime.”
I don’t suppose there’s any chance he could be replaced by Carl Heneghan, is there? No, didn’t think so.