New vaccine task force chair announced

The Department for Health and Social Care has named the new chair of the Vaccine Taskforce.

Sir Richard Sykes has extensive experience in biotechnology and has held various roles in senior leadership roles across organisations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Lonza Group and NetScientific and will oversee the procurement of future vaccines that make up the largest vaccination programme in British history.

Sir Richard Sykes said: “I’m delighted to be joining a brilliant team to continue its incredibly important work on the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I am determined to make sure the UK remains in the best possible position to beat this virus and has the tools it needs to respond to future public health threats.”

Currently he holds the position of President of the Research and Development Society, and is the Chancellor of Brunel University, and previously the chairman of NHS London. In December 2020, he conducted an independent review into the strategy and goals of the Vaccine Taskforce.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The Vaccine Taskforce has done a tremendous job of securing the world’s first clinically-proven vaccines for COVID-19 and it’s fantastic that Sir Richard will be joining our renowned team with his extensive expertise.

“I look forward to working closely with him going forward to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to save lives and the country is well prepared for any health threats for years to come.”

The vaccine taskforce was established in March 2020, and reports to the Secretary of the Health and Social Care.