Queen could help boost public’s trust in coronavirus vaccine, expert says

The Queen could be called on to help boost the public's trust in a coronavirus vaccine, a Government adviser has suggested.

Vaccine misinformation expert Professor Heidi Larson said she feared that people's concerns about vaccine safety were not being addressed, which could result in them not taking it.

It comes as scientists warned that a working Covid-19 vaccine "might not be enough" to end the pandemic unless governments and technology firms tackle coronavirus misinformation.

In an interview with The Times, Prof Larson, who leads the Vaccine Confidence Project, said the Queen could help build trust in the older generation.

15 PHOTOS
The Queen visits Porton Down
See Gallery
The Queen visits Porton Down
TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. - The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) stands by as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) unveils a plaque to officially open the new Energetics Analysis Centre at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (C) speak with Dstl Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead (L) as they head back to the Energetics Analysis Centre during their visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (R) presents British Army Colonel Mike Duff (L), Assistant Commander South West and deputy joint commander for the decontamination of Salisbury following the 2018 Novichok incident, with the Firmin Sword of Peace for the South West department's work on the Novichok incident, during the Duke's visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) is seen after she unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Energetics Analysis Centre at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands after signing a visitor's book during her visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C) and Dstl Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead (R) view a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation with a model explosive device in a vehicle at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks with staff including Professor Tim Atkins (R), who was honoured for his work on the 2018 Novichok incident and has been involved in the fight against Covid-19, during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) view a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation with explosives detection dog named 'Max' at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands after signing a visitor's book during her visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. - The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) speaks with Dstl Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead (L) as she arrives at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. - The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She said: "If there's one thing I've seen, and I've been here (in the UK) for over a decade now, it's the trust that she (the Queen) gets.

"And she's certainly in that older cohort, so I think that's actually really, really smart."

Prof Larson said the "big question" would be whether the Queen, who is aged 94, would get a vaccine.

"I think the palace is going to have to decide for themselves – do you want to risk a new vaccine on the Queen? Or do you want to keep her isolated? They're going to have to weigh those risks," she added.

Prof Larson said while she would not want to put the Queen "in a spot", the monarch was an "important voice".

She said a communication strategy responding to "emerging concerns" around vaccines was key, rather than simply "brushing them off".

"I've been called into a number of discussions (with the Government) on this. It's not clear to me that there's a coherent communication strategy," Prof Larson added.

In a study involving five countries, including the UK, scientists found a "clear link" between Covid-19 conspiracy theories and hesitancy around future coronavirus vaccines.

30 PHOTOS
Pictures of the week: October 11- 17
See Gallery
Pictures of the week: October 11- 17
Precious Muir attends Mila Alexander's solo art exhibition 'Awakening' at Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in Mayfair. (Photo by Phil Lewis / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A woman looks at masks in a shop in London, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. The British government has moved London to its second-highest COVID-19 alert level as authorities seek to slow the exponential rise in infection rates across the country. The government also increased the risk level in seven other areas, meaning millions of people will be barred from meeting socially with anyone from outside their households and they will be asked to minimize travel. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
'We'll be Back soon' sign outside closed Prince Edward Theatre looks increasingly unlikely. Coronavirus restriction signs and reminders are seen around London as the capital has been moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2, meaning it is on "high alert" for coronavirus and people must not socialise with others outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting. These increased measures are in addition to existing national restrictions on gatherings of more than six people and mandatory closing time for the hospitality industry of 22:00. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A female Atlantic grey seal in the sea covered in seaweed at a remote breeding ground in Pembrokeshire, where newborn pups spend their first few weeks in the rookeries intensively feeding before shedding their white coats. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William, right, visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, England, Thursday Oct. 15, 2020, to view the Energetics Enclosure and display of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence. (Ben Stansall/Pool via AP)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/10/15: Santander bikes at the docking station in London. (Photo by Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 15: Robert MacIntyre of Scotland warms up on the floodlit driving range ahead of the first round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA at Fairmont St Andrews on October 15, 2020 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Maskey fashionable face mask shop in London's Chinatown. Maskey was the first company in the UK to offer fashionable face masks for sale through vending machines, now opens a shop selling �Mistick� multi-purpose sanitizer in London's Chinatown. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A young stag stands in the light of the rising sun during the rutting (breeding) season which takes place in autumn, in Bushy Park, south west London, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, arrives to visit the Institute of Reproductive and Development Biology, at Imperial College in London, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. The Duchess of Cambridge visited the London research centre to hear about the work that national charity Tommy's are doing to reduce rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)
London's first electric taxi since the Bersey Taxi in the late 1890s. The vehicle based on Nissan's e-NV200 Evalia MPV is the first to be approved by transport in London for use as a 'Hackney Carriage' and has been adapted to be fully wheelchair accessible while having the ability to carry five passengers. The conversion work was carried out at Dynamo's Coventry HQ. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Denmark's Christian Eriksen, left, scores his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool via AP)
Bar Convent employee Lauren Masterman relaxes after cleaning a historic George and Arthur Maw tiled floor created in 1867, one of only two surviving examples of this assemblage of tiles, at England's oldest living convent Bar Convent. Visitors to the convent are being invited to follow in the footsteps of residents from the last 150 years and enjoy the historic space decorated with rare 19th century floor tiles. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall strokes a horse during her visit to Ebony Horse club in London, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (Ian Vogler/Pool Photo via AP)
Sunrise over Blyth pier in Northumberland. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
People queue outside Barclays Bank in London. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to Black and White) A member of the groundstaff remarks the lines prior to the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round match between Cray Valley Paper Mills and Aveley on October 13, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
A community bus�from the Metropolitan Police is parked in Chinatown. Police Officers belonging to the Chinese�and South East�Asian�Staff�Association meet with people from the local area. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Signage seen at the Tesco metro supermarket in Dean Street, which has a traffic light system to let shoppers know when it is safe to enter the store so it can adhere to social distancing restrictions. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Lucy, one of two rescued 19 month old brown bear cubs enjoys playing with a pumpkin as part of their enrichment at the Wildwood Trust in Herne Bay, Kent. The orphaned pair who were found abandoned and alone in a snowdrift in the Albanian mountains have been acclimatising at the trust to their new life in the UK before moving to a permanent home next year.
Farm cattle dogs from Wiltshire, Flo, right, Gus, centre, and Ruby, left, look out of the window of vehicle during a farmers protest outdside Parliament in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Tractors travelled to Parliament in London as MPs vote on the Agriculture Bill, aimed at blocking the import of lower-standard produce. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Managing Director of Plymouth Boat Trips, Ben Squire, gives the thumbs up as MP for South East Cornwall Sheryll Murray pours champagne onto the bow during the launch of e-Voyager, the UK's first sea-going electric ferry, at Torpoint in Cornwall.
A person wearing a face mask to try to stop the spread of coronavirus walks across London Bridge, with Tower Bridge in the background, at sunrise in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. In response to the coronavirus' resurgence, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce in Parliament on Monday a three-tier local lockdown system, formally known as "Local COVID Alert Levels," for England, his office said. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Members of the public wearing face masks stand near a statue of The Beatles in Liverpool, England, Monday Oct. 12, 2020, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to lay out a new three-tier alert system for England. The Liverpool City Region is expected to face the tightest restrictions under the new system, which will classify regions as being on "medium", "high" or "very high" alert. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: People, in the Rubber Soul Beatles Bar in Mathew Street, in the heart of the city's nightlife, watch British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announce strict lockdown rules for Liverpool which includes the closure of bars and betting shops on October 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Under a new three-tier system, English cities will be subject to lockdown measures corresponding with the severity of Covid-19 outbreaks in their areas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12 A woman wears a Covid-19 protective face mask as she walks past a mural of the Beatles on October 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Under a new three-tier system, English cities will be subject to lockdown measures corresponding with the severity of covid-19 outbreaks in their areas. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Veteran fundraiser Lloyd Scott (right), who is attempting to climb the Three Peaks in aid of Lord's Taverners charity whilst wearing a deep sea diving suit, reaches the summit of Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia, north Wales. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Farmers in tractors take part in a protest over food and farming standards, organised by Save British Farming (SBF), Westminster, London, on the day the amended Agricultural Bill returns to the House of Commons. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
People walk along the Streets while holding umbrellas during a Rainy Day. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Senior aide to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings and UK Government Adviser Cleo Watson arrive in Downing Street London, ahead of a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss areas suffering a surge in Covid-19 and measures to combat the spread of the virus.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

While a majority of those surveyed judged the misinformation to be unreliable, the researchers said they found certain conspiracy theories to have taken hold in "significant portions of the population".

Dr Sander van der Linden, who is director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab and one of the authors on the study, said: "We find a clear link between believing coronavirus conspiracies and hesitancy around any future vaccine.

"As well as flagging false claims, governments and technology companies should explore ways to increase digital media literacy in the population.

"Otherwise, developing a working vaccine might not be enough."

A Government spokesperson said: "The science is clear – vaccines save lives, which is why we are leading a global effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

"Vaccine misinformation in any form is completely unacceptable and it is everyone's responsibility to seek NHS advice, so that they have the right information to make the right choice.

"Since the start of the pandemic, specialist UK Government units have also been working rapidly to identify and rebut false information about coronavirus, including working closely with social media companies."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS