Rupert Murdoch gets coronavirus vaccine as top Fox News anchor casts doubt on jab campaign

89-year-old US citizen inoculated in Oxford as Tucker Carlson warns rollout campaign ‘feels false’

Andy Gregory
Friday 18 December 2020 20:38
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<p>Tucker Carlson used his primetime programme to sow doubt</p>

Tucker Carlson used his primetime programme to sow doubt

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Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has received the coronavirus vaccine.

The 89-year-old was among the first in the world to be inoculated, receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech jab near his home in South Oxfordshire.

According to a statement on his behalf, the Australian-born US citizen was administered the vaccine “at his local GP's surgery after he received a call saying he was eligible”. 

“He has been isolating in the UK since the summer, with his wife Jerry Hall Murdoch,” said the statement issued by News UK.

“He would like to thank the key workers and the NHS staff who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic, and the amazing scientists who have made this vaccine possible.”

It came as Tucker Carlson, one of the highest-profile hosts on Mr Murdoch’s Fox News channel in the US, used his primetime Thursday night slot to sow doubt over the country’s inoculation campaign.

Denouncing the “glitzy” vaccination programme, Mr Carlson told viewers: “So, how are the rest of us supposed to respond to a marketing campaign like this? Well, nervously.

“Even if you're strongly supportive of vaccines, and we are, even if you recognise how many millions of lives have been saved over the past 50 years by vaccines, and we do, it all seems a bit much. It feels false, because it is. It's too slick.”

Under a background headline reading, “Bad Vaccine Reactions”, he highlighted the “severe anaphylactic reaction” in a healthcare worker in Alaska. 

It is the first negative reaction to be widely reported in the US, but healthcare officials have said occasional allergic reactions are to be expected. She reportedly spent two nights in hospital and was recovering well, and was reported by CNN as saying she was “still enthusiastic that she got the vaccine”.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised people who have previously suffered anaphylactic reactions as a result of allergies to avoid Pfizer’s jab, with the NHS having recorded two such incidents, described by the MHRA as “very rare”.

Mr Murdoch’s titles in the UK have thrown their weight behind coronavirus vaccination, with The Times on Thursday publishing a comment piece headlined “It’s time to get evangelical about the vaccine”, which stated below: “The sooner we are inoculated, the sooner we’ll get back to normal life in all its quotidian glory.”

Those aged over 80 are second in line for the vaccine in the UK, with residents and staff in care homes for the elderly deemed the highest priority.

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