Santa first in line for new Covid vaccine, says Jonathan Van-Tam

England's deputy medical chief tries to ease children's fears over Christmas

England’s deputy medical chief Jonathan Van-Tam has promised children that Father Christmas will be first in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Mr Van-Tam made the remarks on BBC Radio 5Live where he sought to allay fears about the upcoming Pfizer/BioNtech shot which will be rolled out across the country in the coming weeks.

Government guidance states that NHS workers and the most vulnerable groups, including the over-80s, will be first to be inoculated against the virus.

However, Mr Van Tam has pledged Santa Clause will jump to the front of the queue for the vaccine, further cementing his cult status amongst the British public.

His response certainly delighted Jennifer, a mum-of-three from St Albans.

As it did busy working mum, Kaye Dwight.

The epidemiologist has become firm favourite on social media thanks to his colourful metaphors and memorable communications style during the Covid crisis.

While his appearances have sometimes been combative, Mr Van Tam has not been shy in revealing his more humorous side and his love of a coronavirus-themed analogy.

In Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing, he explained that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was “not a yoghurt that can be taken out of the fridge and put back multiple times”.

Hailing the progress of vaccines in recent weeks, he also declared the “the train has now slowed down safely, it is at the station.”

He added: “Now people must get on the train, safely. We need people to take the vaccine".

He also explained that the vaccine would be travelling across the UK and urged others 'get on board'.

Last month he likened the end of the crisis to a glider coming into land.

“Do I believe we’re now on the glide path to landing this plane? Yes, I think I do.

“Do I accept that sometimes when you’re on the glide path you can have a side wind and the landing is not totally straightforward - of course.”

Britain has become the first country in the world to give the all-clear for a coronavirus vaccine after the Pfizer jab was approved by independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The body said it had used a "rolling review" process from June to assess the vaccine in record time.

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it hopes that a decision on the Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine is expected "by December 29 at the latest", while a ruling on Moderna's version should follow by January 12.