Sarah Gilbert & Catherine Green © Lewis Khan

On New Year’s Day 2020, Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, read an article about four people in China with a strange pneumonia. Within two weeks, she and her team had designed a vaccine against a pathogen that no one had ever heard of.

Less than 12 months later, vaccination was rolled out across the world to save millions of lives from Covid-19.

The brilliant world-leading brains behind Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine Prof Sarah Gilbert and her colleague Dr Catherine Green (associate Professor in Chromosome Dynamics at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, a Senior Research Fellow at Exeter College, Oxford, and Head of Oxford University’s Clinical BioManufacturing Facility) are hosting a fundraising dinner at The White Hart in Wytham tomorrow night.

Sarah Gilbert & Catherine Green © Lewis Khan

“We want to recognise their contribution and achievement while raising money for the charity Vaccine Knowledge Project. They have made such a difference to our lives and this is a wonderful opportunity to hear them and ask any questions that people have,” landlord Baz Butcher says.

Not only can you hear about the dynamic duo’s role in making the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine which was rolled out around the world, but they will also discuss the heart-stopping moments in the eye of the storm and explain how they made the vaccine so quickly (it took just 65 days to go from DNA construct to clinical trial), without compromising on safety, how it was designed and manufactured at huge scale and at rapid speed.


Hosted by Dr Rachel Clarke, the pair hope to raise money for the charity Vaccine Knowledge Project which provides a source of independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases. £10 from each ticket will be donated to the Vaccine Knowledge Project

Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green will also be talking about their landmark book – Vaxxers – which also shares the major milestones of their story from their own unique perspectives, the sheer hard work and personal pressures they faced along the way, from the day in January 2020 when they first heard the news of the virus in China, to the day the vaccine efficacy was revealed, the UK government ordering 100 million doses (enough for 50 million people) and then rolling out the vaccine around the world.

The evening will begin with an interview with Sarah and Catherine, followed by a two course dinner cooked by The White Hart Wytham‘s head chef Andrew Carr and then a Q&A with the duo.

Baz Butcher at The White Hart in Wytham

Prof Sarah Gilbert says: “‘There was so much team work involved behind the scenes to complete the rapid development of the vaccine without cutting any corners. We decided to write this book to tell our personal story, to reveal how we made this vaccine as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and how it will benefit the whole world.’

Tickets for this extraordinary evening cost £50 per head with £10 from each ticket going to The White Hart in Wytham. Go to

VAXXERS- The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus by Professor Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green is published by Hodder & Stoughton Hardback, £20, and available from all good bookshops.