Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi reveals his uncle died with Covid just before he could get jab

Harriet Brewis
·2-min read
 (Good Morning Britain)
(Good Morning Britain)

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said he is even more determined to protect Britain’s vulnerable against coronavirus as he revealed he lost his uncle to the virus just days ago.

The Tory MP grew emotional during an interview with Good Morning Britain on Tuesday as he shared his personal loss from the pandemic.

Mr Zahawi told hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that his uncle had been eligible for a Covid jab but died before he could be innoculated.

Acknowledging the toll the health crisis was taking on the population, he said: “It’s painful, and it’s closer to home than you think… in terms of losing relatives and family.”

Asked what he meant by this, the Cabinet minister explained: “I lost my uncle last week to Covid.”

Describing the situation as “grim and horrible”, Mr Zahawi insisted “our way out of this is the vaccination programme.”

“It makes me angry, but it makes me determined to make sure we vaccinate the most vulnerable people in our country and protect them as quickly as possible and then protect the whole nation,” he added.

Adopting a softer tone than usual, Morgan then asked: 'We're so sorry to hear that about your uncle. Can I just ask, did he have a vaccine? Was he entitled to one?”

Mr Zahawi replied: "He was entitled to one but sadly he got Covid before he got the vaccine. But obviously you have to wait 28 days for someone to recover before you can vaccinate them and he didn't make it."

The GMB interviewer continued: "For you as the vaccine minister to have an uncle who simply didn’t get the vaccine in time to protect him – that is heartbreaking.

“And that shows, I think, everybody just how important it is: if you get that call to have that jab, get down there faster than a greyhound.”

A sombre Mr Zahawi replied simply: “Absolutely.”

Morgan then thanked the MP for sharing such personal news with viewers, adding: “I think it is powerful to remind people of the terrible cost of this virus on everybody.”

After saying goodbye to his guest, the presenter then reflected: "Personalising it is important, it’s powerful, because now we have the vaccine minister’s own family hit by Covid – his own uncle just died before he got a chance to be protected – and that’s the race we’re in with this virus: to get vaccinated before more and more people sadly lose their lives to this disease.

“It’s a horrible, killer disease."

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