“We don’t know what’s in it,” was the argument put forward by the anti-vaxxer, which Dr Green replied: “I know I’m just here in the pizza queue with you, but I do know what’s in it. I’m the best person in the world to tell you what’s in it, because I made it with my team in Oxford and here’s the recipe.” Causing raucous laughter from Good Morning Britain hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley, the scientist was then probed: “What IS in it?”
“It has the virus in it,” began Dr Green. “The virus which is the vaccine – a replication-incompetent chimpanzee adenovirus – can’t cause disease in humans.
“It’s a delivery mechanism to get the code for spike into your body, and the rest of it is pretty much just salty water.”
The associate professor at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG), at Oxford, noted other components of the vaccines.
Dr Green said live on air that the AstraZeneca jab contains sodium chloride, buffer, and preservatives – “to keep it from growing bugs in it”.
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Professor Gilbert added that “we’re getting very high levels of protection against severe disease – and that’s a really important thing”.
“What really matters is stopping people from getting an infection so severe that they have to go into hospital – and that’s working really well with the vaccine.”
In regards to vaccine hesitancy, Dr Green said it’s “perfectly reasonable” to be resistant about things that are new.
“It’s our job to get the information and the truth out there, so people can make those informed decisions for themselves,” she said.
In light of Freedom Day – commencing on July 19 – Dr Green will still be wearing a mask on public transport.
“Sometimes two safety measures are better than one,” said Dr Green, referring to the vaccine and the use of face masks.
“None of the protective measures are completely effective on their own,” chimed in Professor Gilbert.
“We get the best protection when we link up different ways to protect ourselves.”
Professor Gilbert reminded viewers that “we’re wearing masks to protect other people”.
“I think it’s a sign of respect if you’re in a situation where you might be able to transmit a virus to somebody else, to keep the mask on.”
“They’re slightly uncomfortable,” Dr Green confessed, “but I’d wear a mask on a tube in London, for sure, and on the bus.”
“If anyone was particularly wanting me to wear a mask, I would,” conclude Professor Gilbert.