The former head of the vaccines taskforce Kate Bingham has been given a damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Ms Bingham, wife of Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman, spent more than six months as the unpaid chair of the UK's Vaccine Taskforce.

In the role, she helped secure more than 350 million doses of seven different vaccines, including 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 100 million doses of the jab developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca.

Ms Bingham said she was proud to be recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours, saying vaccine development had been a triumph.


"I am proud but also humbled to be recognised in a year when NHS workers have risked their health and their lives in fighting Covid, and have been at the heart of the vaccine roll out," she said.

The development of vaccines has been a triumph of scientific and industrial collaboration. Just a year ago we were assembling an unproven portfolio of vaccines for the UK.

"Yet in the last six months nearly 70m vaccine doses have provided unprecedented protection and saved thousands of lives.

"It has been an extraordinary privilege to lead the brilliant Vaccine Taskforce team, and to secure doses for the UK, but which can also be shared with other countries.

"I am particularly proud of the NHS Registry, which helped the UK to run the vaccine clinical trials quickly. Its hundreds of thousands of volunteers will be essential for us to test pandemic vaccines in the future.

"Finally, I am thrilled that so many women have made such enormous contributions to science, healthcare, manufacturing and technology during the pandemic. I hope this encourages more girls to pursue careers in these sectors.

Last year Mr Norman felt compelled to defend his wife after she became the focus of intense scrutiny after a report appeared in The Sunday Times.

It claimed she had shared commercially sensitive information with financiers at a conference in America.

Later it was reported that she spent £670,000 of public money on a public relations firm.

There were also claims of cronyism over how she came to be appointed in her role, and the public relations firm's ties with people close to the Government.

But Mr Norman, in a letter to Hereford Times readers, said all his wife's public appearances, including the conference that was the focus of The Sunday Times story, were approved by civil servants at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which has oversight of her work.

Appearing before a parliamentary joint select committee on November 4, Ms Bingham herself denied any wrongdoing, and described The Sunday Times report as "nonsense", "inaccurate" and "irresponsible".