Coronavirus news latest: Minister denies division between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – amid reports Jonathan Van-Tam standing down | UK News


No-one loves a football analogy more than England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam.

As we’re going to miss these when he leaves his role, here’s the highlights from our chief officer of analogies.

Picking up yellow cards

When the Omicron variant emerged in November, Professor Sir Jonathan said the vaccine roll-out was like having a full-strength team on the football pitch.

Despite being weakened by injuries – the Alpha and Delta variants – substitutes had managed to “keep us in the game”.

He likened Omicron to “picking up a couple of yellow cards to key players”, saying we are “not going to wait for the red card to happen”.

Scoring an equaliser

In December, he described the pandemic as like a nail-biting football match.

“It’s clear in the first half, the away team gave us an absolute battering, and what we’ve done now is it’s the 70th minute, they got a goal, and in the 70th minute we’ve now got an equaliser,” he told BBC News.

He added we should then “hold our nerve” and “see if we can get another goal and nick it”.

Penalty shoot-out

Here’s one more football analogy, just because he’s so keen on them.

After receiving positive results in Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccine trials, he said: “So this is like… getting to the end of the play-off final, it’s gone to penalties, the first player goes up and scores a goal. You haven’t won the cup yet, but what it does is, it tells you that the goalkeeper can be beaten.”

Vaccines are not yoghurts

When talking about how the vaccine needed to be stored at around -70C, he compared it to a yoghurt to explain the difficulties in handling it.

“This is a complex product,” he said. “It’s not a yoghurt that can be taken out of the fridge and put back in multiple times.”

Horse racing

Another sporting reference. Comparing the pandemic to the famous Grand National, Professor Sir Jonathan warned the UK must not fall at the final fence.

“The vaccine effects are going to take three months until we see them properly, and until then no one can relax,” he told The Sun.

“We are probably in the last few furlongs of this race – like in the Grand National We just have a couple more fences, we have just got to stick with it.”



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