The number of first vaccinations given in Britain has almost halved in two weeks as take-up among the young dwindles. Polling in May suggested that nearly nine out of 10 young adults want to be vaccinated against Covid, but more recent data shows that around one in seven older teenagers are now sceptical of getting the vaccine.
The Government hopes to offset this hesitancy by widening the gap between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, such as by ending certain travel quarantine rules and ending self-isolation rules after contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid for those who have had two doses. Last month, it even attempted to incentivise take-up among younger people by partnering with dating apps to create a scheme that rewards vaccinated users with exclusive prizes.
The Times has more.
Government scientists accept that the country is “close to maximum take-up”, with many young people still hesitant about vaccination.
The NHS reported no problems with Pfizer supplies and many vaccination centres are starting to offer early second jabs to young people, saying they would otherwise be sitting idle, but the Government is resisting calls to bring forward second doses.
Ministers appear relaxed about the slowdown, arguing that removal of quarantine for the fully vaccinated when going on holiday or coming into contact with an infected person would act as an incentive to boost take-up. But it will add to concerns about the scale of a summer wave of infections after all restrictions are lifted in 11 days’ time. …
Boris Johnson refused yesterday to say how many daily Covid admissions he was expecting in the summer but sources familiar with internal estimates acknowledged hospitals were likely to struggle, saying: “The tide is coming in and we will have to see how high the water gets before the nerves crack.” …
Men are currently more likely to have Covid than women, researchers said, with indoor gatherings to watch the Euros likely to be driving the trend. The latest round of the React survey from Imperial College London found that about 0.7% of men had the virus between May 20th and June 7th compared with 0.5% of women.
Ministers are expecting cases to peak at about 100,000 a day in August after which they are expected to fall through a combination of vaccination and the virus running out of people to infect.
About 90% of adults in Britain have antibodies to the disease from vaccination or previous infection, the Office for National Statistics said.
In England this includes 60% of those aged 16 to 24 in the week ending June 20th, suggesting previous infection is the main cause. This rises to over 99% in people over 65. …
Professor Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham said there was a “need to increase the messaging around the benefits of vaccination”, citing “very debilitating long Covid” even in the young. Take-up has plateaued at over 95% for over-50s but is under 90% among those aged 45-49.
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