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Elton John stars in humorous Covid vaccine advert

Elton John (Photo: NHS England/YouTube)

Singer Elton John, 73, has teamed up with acting legend Michael Caine, 87, in a new campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The two British stars made the advert in conjunction with the NHS (National Health Service) in England.

In the video, Elton is seen trying to “act” for a frustrated director, who instructs him to be less showbiz. More seriously, Elton goes on to explain the benefits of getting the vaccine.

Related: 5 reasons gay men should get the Covid-19 vaccine

“The more people in society who get vaccinated, the more chance there is of eradicating the national Covid pandemic. It’s really important to know that the vaccines have all been through, and met, the necessary safety and quality standards.”

He then has to pretend to be having the vaccine and hopelessly overacts, telling the director that he won’t find any better actors at short notice.

The action then switches to actor Michael Caine, shown getting his jab.

In the UK, over 90% of the country’s over-80s and over-70s have been vaccinated, along with many frontline health workers and those with serious health conditions. The country’s vaccination program will soon move on to offering the jab to those over 60. It hopes to have offered everyone over 50 the jab by May. In total, this represents 99% of those most at risk of dying from Covid-19.

Related: Ian McKellen “euphoric” at receiving COVID vaccine in the UK

In a separate development, last week in the U.S., the CDC issued a study indicating that gay and bisexual people are at greater risk of severe health consequences from Covid.

It’s already been noted that those in different ethnic minority groups can be impacted more severely, but the CDC undertook the study because it’s already acknowledged that “sexual minority persons” can report more cases of other illnesses.

“When age, sex, and survey year are adjusted, sexual minority persons have higher prevalences than do heterosexual persons of self-reported cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, obesity, smoking, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and stroke,” the study says. All of these conditions can make a Covid diagnosis worse.

Looking back over three years of data collected by several states, the CDC found “several underlying health conditions that increase or might increase the risk for more severe COVID-19–related illness were more prevalent among sexual minority persons than heterosexual persons, both within the overall population and within specific racial/ethnic groups.”

In this particular collection of data, there were too few trans and non-binary people for the CDC to make any significant conclusions about these particular communities.

These noted disparities may be due to LGBTQ people facing stigma and discrimination which can drive them to drink and smoke more, or make them less likely to see medical assistance. The findings were even more negative for gay and bi people from ethnic minorities.

The CDC noted that states, including California and Illinois, have begun asking Covid patients to volunteer information about their sexual orientation and gender identity to better understand the impact of the disease on LGBTQ communities.

It said collecting such data was, “critical to ensuring health equity for all, including subpopulations whose circumstances often remain uncaptured,” despite being known such groups face distinct challenges and needs.