EMMERDALE will be the first British soap to have a star character vaccinated - and it could help drive take-up in ethnic minority groups.
Eric Pollard, played by Chris Chittell, 72, tells his family he’s had the jab in an episode to be screened next month on ITV.Chris Chittell plays Eric Pollard in EmmerdaleCredit: ITV
In a heart-warming moment on-screen, he tells his son David Metcalfe that’s he’s just had the jab in the hope he'll soon be able to spend more time with his young grandson Theo.
Popular Chittell has been in the soap since 1986 and is the longest-serving character in the drama.
Scriptwriters have been working around-the-clock to keep up with the latest developments in real life dealing with a six week lag before it appears on screen.
One soap insider said: “The moment will resonate with grandparents who’ve been kept away from seeing their grandchildren over several months.”
MPs feel soap operas may get through to communities who are reluctant to be given the Covid vaccine.
Labour MP Chris Evans last night: “Soap operas have such a massive reach sometimes more so than big advertising campaigns.Emmerdale's vaccination storyline could help drive take-up in ethnic minority groupsCredit: PA:Press Association
“Reaching different demographics could definitely help in the vaccine uptake across the country as more scriptwriters add it into the scripts.”
It follows England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam who said it “really concerns” him that fewer BAME people may get the jab.
He said this week that he is concerned the “uptake in minority ethnic groups is not going to be as rapid or as high” in comparison to white communities.
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