Watch: NHS enlists Elton John and Michael Caine to promote COVID vaccines

The two stars assure viewers that getting the jab is easy and safe.

Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Caine front a new ad from NHS England encouraging people to get vaccinated against coronavirus. 

The film takes the style of an audition video, with John appearing to try out for the starring role in the public health campaign. The director tells the singer-songwriter to be “a little less showbiz” and then a “bit more showbiz”. 

After failing to impress, John attempts an impression of Caine and breaks out into his 1983 hit song I’m Still Standing: “As you can see, I’m still standing, yeah, yeah yeah.”

The ad ends with the person who successfully lands the role: Caine. The actor is shown in a chair after receiving the vaccine and tells viewers that it “didn’t hurt” – adding his famous catchphrase: “Not many people know that.”

Both celebrities are in the age groups that have been offered the vaccine: John is 73 and Caine is 87. This week the NHS began asking anyone aged 70 or over who has not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus to come forward to be protected.

The NHS has vaccinated more than 10 million people in England so far, with the aim of offering a jab to everyone in the top four highest priority groups by the middle of this month.

The film shares the message that getting the vaccine is easy and safe and was commissioned by Lord Ara Darzi, who leads the Imperial REACT COVID Surveillance Study Group, who is friends with the two stars. It was written and directed by Stephen Pipe and shot at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS said: “Well over nine out of 10 people aged 75 and over have already taken up the offer of their NHS Covid vaccination, and now we want to encourage everyone in the high priority groups to do so.

“That’s why we’re grateful to Sir Elton and Sir Michael for helping the NHS promote vaccine uptake, building on the fast and efficient programme to date, which has seen the NHS already vaccinate one in four adults across England.”

The NHS made the ad in-house and launched it on social media and its own website.

MullenLowe, the agency which has managed the creative for all of the Government's coronavirus communications, had no involvement and it is thought that no paid media for the spot is planned at the moment.

A version of this article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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