Since the vaccine launch began last year, the journey has been relatively smooth. The few times the juggler has encountered have been successfully navigated, mostly hiccups in the supply chain.
However, there are now concerns about the final stages, with those under 30 showing a greater reluctance to get the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines than the elderly.
To date, 58.4% of 18-24 year olds and 58.9% of 25-29 year olds in England have received a first dose since they were eligible on 18 June according to Public Health England, but this number is now rising slowly enough to alarm NHS trusts.
The latest NHS figures for 18 July show that 131,150 people aged 18 to 24 received a first dose that week, just a third of the 416,434 two weeks earlier. Cities are experiencing slower adoption, with just over half of this age group receiving a first dose, and clinical commissioner groups in Birmingham and Solihull, Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester have had fewer of 50% acquisition.
It seems that many under-30s have understood the message that the virus is more deadly to those over 50, which means young people are likely to be harmed, which they consider confirmed by government actions.
The end of restrictions on “Freedom Day” caused nightclubs to reopen after midnight last Sunday to make it a great time, only for Boris Johnson to suggest less than 24 hours later that the clubs they may need Covid passports in the future. The move, according to some government sources, was “a hoax to increase vaccine uptake among the youngest.”
With case rates rising dramatically for people in their twenties (about one in 100 currently has a Covid infection for seven days, according to Public Health England), it should come as no surprise that many of those who still doubt vaccines believe that ministers don’t think it’s important if they detect the virus.
“We’re reopening the economy when young people in general haven’t had the vaccine and the implication is that it’s okay if they have Covid,” said Evie Aspinall, the UK’s chief delegate to the G7 Youth Summit and former president of Cambridge University Student Union. “They tell us there’s no sense of real threat.”
He Observer interviewed several 20 people who had not yet been vaccinated and many spoke of anxiety about their health, skepticism about vaccines and social media scares, as well as a general lack of motivation. “When the government said the elderly and people with underlying health conditions needed the vaccine, I was all in favor,” said Mahmud Iqbal, a 26-year-old computer engineer and barber from Tufnell Park, north London.
“But then the agenda changed. Age groups were shrinking and my family started asking me if I was going to get the vaccine.” After recovering from Covid last year, Iqbal he wondered why he needed the puncture and talked about fears about side effects.
Kevin, a 24-year-old painter and decorator, said he “hadn’t achieved it in years” because he was lazy. “I never book GPs or anything until it’s an emergency. But I didn’t realize that you could only enter, so now I’m going there. ” Kevin said he found it “disturbing” to be asked to take what he described as “an experimental vaccine.” The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency authorized Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines after reviewing clinical trial data and more than 20 million doses have been administered.
“I will probably get the vaccine, but I am less likely to be able to pass it on to vulnerable people,” he said.
Georgia, 28, of the West Midlands said fertility was her main concern. “I have also read about many adverse reactions to the vaccine that show me: effects on women’s reproductive systems and cycles. I want to have a baby next year and there are no published data on its long-term effects on fertility. “I just don’t understand why I really need it, I’m healthy and I trust my immune system on government.”
Sam Everington, a head doctor in East London who is part of the board of the British Medical Association, said more needed to be done to counter misinformation. “It’s hard, but we have to keep up with difficult things on social media that aren’t true,” he said. “The most common thing I hear is that young people talk about infertility and there’s no evidence.”
He said ministers needed to “stop mixed messaging.” “The use of ‘freedom day’ was completely wrong, because we will have to live with Covid. I much prefer to use the words ‘next step.’ In our local hospitals, many patients admitted with Covid have not had the vaccine and are a younger group. Younger people may think they are immune to Covid or that they may only suffer from a minor illness, but that is not true. “
An NHS spokesman said: “There has been a lot of excitement for the vaccine of young people with two-thirds of people aged 18 to 29 already having the first dose a few weeks after being elected, and thousands more continue to show up to get vaccinated at convenient venues, such as the Ascot Racecourse Walking Clinic and the Vaccine Bus Festival at the Latitude Festival this weekend.
“If you haven’t received the vaccine yet, there’s never been a more important time to move forward: it’s fast, effective and saves lives.”