The UK’s National Health Service is hoping a small dose of humour will help get the word out about COVID-19 vaccines for high-risk age groups.
In a newly-released PSA, Sir Elton John finds himself “auditioning” for the role of vaccine spokesperson for the NHS as the vaccination campaign is opening up bookings and encouraging people over the age of 70 to get vaccinated beginning in mid-February.
Taking direction from a voice off-screen, John tries his best to deliver his lines in a variety of ways and pretends to react to getting the vaccine jab in another take.
After failing to win over the casting director, John tries out delivering the lines with a Michael Caine impression. Trying to nail the performance with one last shot, John even sings a few lines of “I’m Still Standing” to help convey the efficacy and ease of getting the vaccine.
“Wow, okay. Thanks, Elton, we’ll let you know,” the casting director’s voice is heard off-screen before cutting to the real Michael Caine, who is seated in a chair after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’ve just had a vaccine for COVID,” Caine says in the clip after “winning” the role in the PSA over John. “It didn’t hurt. Not many people know that.”
A spokesperson for the NHS revealed both John, 73, and Caine, 87, have each received the vaccine, as have more than 12 million people in the UK, to date.
“I wanted to take part in this film to help show people the benefits of getting vaccinated and how it helps protect ourselves and the people we love,” John says of the PSA, via CNN. “So, I hope we can all come together and do our bit in the fight against this wretched disease.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, says the campaign is aimed at getting more of the high-risk population vaccinated, noting that “well over nine out of 10 people aged 75 and over have already taken up the offer of their NHS COVID vaccination, and now we want to encourage everyone in the high priority groups to do so.”
“That’s why we’re grateful to Sir Elton and Sir Michael for helping the NHS promote vaccine uptake,” he adds.