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Emmerdale to Be First UK Soap to Feature COVID-Vaccinated Character

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Emmerdale is leading the pack. The UK soap will be the first to feature a character having received the COVID-19 vaccine, announced The Sun.

In an episode airing in March, Eric Pollard (played by 72-year-old Chris Chittell) will tell his son that he's getting the jab. As a result, Eric says, he'll be able to spend more time with his grandson. Chittell has been on Emmerdale since 1986.

It's reportedly hoped that the episode will encourage viewers to get vaccinated. A source told the publication:

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The moment will resonate with grandparents who’ve been kept away from seeing their grandchildren over several months.

MP Chris Evans added:

Soap operas have such a massive reach[,] sometimes more so than big advertising campaigns.

Reaching different demographics could definitely help in the vaccine uptake across the country as more scriptwriters add it into the scripts.

Meanwhile, Chittell's co-star Jurell Carter slammed the soap on Instagram for "promoting" the vaccine, which he dubbed "experimental." He also criticized "people demonising others" for not wanting to get the jab.