AstraZeneca creator on brink of deleting Queen’s email as he’s made CBE

AstraZeneca: Professor Tom Solomon on becoming CBE

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Speaking to BBC Breakfast, director of the UK’s emerging infections unit at the University of Liverpool, Professor Tom Solomon who has been awarded a CBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honors list for his work throughout the pandemic as well as funding the AstraZeneca vaccine admitted that he thought the email notifying him of his prestigious award was a “spam”. He explained how he nearly “deleted” the email before being urged by his wife to open it.

The CBE revealed: “I am still struggling to get used to it actually.

“I got the email a few weeks ago and I thought it was spam… I wasn’t really expecting it.”

He explained: “I was about to delete it and I showed it to my wife she said you better open it.

“I opened it and it was a letter for real!”

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He joked how his wife “thinks that CBE stands for Complete Bleeding (e)diot!”

BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt then asked Mr Solomon how his family and friends have supported him through the strain of the last year.

He replied: “I think a lot of NHS workers have, a lot of researchers have.

“Though I am one among many that have been under a lot of strain.”

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He added: “I think the start was really difficult because like everybody we didn’t know how terrible this virus was going to be – like everybody I was very worried about my family.

“Then at the same time we were having to work so hard to initially fund the research.

“I am proud that I was on the committee that decided to fund the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that has been so useful.

“So it was just a lot of things all happening at the same time and needing also to be very felxible because we were learning all the time.”


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A host of famous faces and do-gooder’s from the pandemic have been recognised in this years Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Amongst them is England football ace Raheem Sterling, 26, who has been awarded an MBE for his services to racial equality in sport.

Others on the list include Oxford vaccine developer Professor Sarah Gilbert and the former chair of the UK vaccine taskforce Kate Bingham who have both been handed damehoods.

1,129 people are on the list which is issued by the Cabinet Office – 15% of recipients are from an ethnic minority background, the highest ever to date.

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