As a result of their life-saving work, two Irish vaccine scientists will be receiving an honorary knighthood and an OBE (Order of the British Empire) award for services to science and public health as part of the British Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on vaccines Adrian Hill is to receive an honorary knighthood while Professor Teresa Lambe will be appointed an honorary OBE. Lambe was a principal investigator at the Jenner Institute and oversaw the university’s vaccine programme which led to the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
She said that it was a huge honour to receive the award and that it felt a bit surreal for her work to be placed in the spotlight during a pandemic.
Hill has been involved in the development of many other vaccines for illnesses such as malaria, Ebola and tuberculosis.
He stated that he hopes this award will encourage aspiring scientists to consider going into vaccinology. He also added that while the Indian variant is not causing a huge increase in hospital cases, it must be watched, and predicted that a new vaccine strain will have to be developed in response to variants.
A number of Irish people received awards at the honours.
The Chief Medical Officer of Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride will be receiving an honorary knighthood as part of the honours list for playing an important role in the region’s response to Covid-19.
Northern Ireland’s Attorney General Brenda King has been made a dame while both Irish language activist Linda Ervine and Irish league football manager David Jeffrey have become MBE’s (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).
Chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Federation Mark Lindsay has also been made an MBE.
Former Irish Rugby international Nigel Carr has also been made an MBE while Northern Ireland’s women’s international footballer, Julie Nelson, honoured with the British Empire Medal.