This was not the Question Time “anti-vaxxer” special that some people feared. Where were all the nutjobs convinced that Bill Gates was trying to implant microchips in their bloodstream? Why was no-one yelling about 5G masts?
Instead, it was a sensible, restrained affair. But if the purpose was to prove the BBC’s commitment to impartiality by showcasing a range of views, Fiona Bruce couldn’t quite keep a straight face.
Every Question Time throws up an audience member with supreme confidence in their own intellect. In this case, a young chap who had brought his own notes and raised questions about vaccine side effects for the young. Prof Robin Shattock, head of Covid vaccine research at Imperial College and a man of great patience, attempted to reassure him, but to no avail.
Bruce did nothing to hide her astonishment. “You’ve got Robin here, who is a world-renowned expert,” she said. “He’s given you the information he’s given you, you’re going through your notes finding all sorts of other things… Is nothing he said credible to you, given what an eminent scientist he is?”
To which the young man replied: “I studied philosophy at university.” How sweet. The Telegraph’s own Tim Stanley was moved to point out that “a degree in philosophy is a good thing to have but it won’t protect you from the virus, whereas degrees in medicine are much more useful in that regard”.
The panel also included Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow cabinet minister and an A&E doctor, who was very much pro-vaccination. Lord Adebowale, chair of the NHS Federation, defended black and ethnic minority staff who are reluctant to get jabbed, and criticised the Government for demanding (pre U-turn) that they do.