Youngsters are finally having their vaccines

Vaccine hesitancy among young people has fallen, new figures have suggested.
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For 16 and 17-year-olds – who are now able to get a Covid-19 jab after the decision was announced last week to extend the rollout to that age group – hesitancy has decreased from 14% to 11%

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey looked at attitudes during the period from June 23 to July 18 – a day before most coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England.

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Among those aged 18 to 21, hesitancy around jabs went down to 5% from 9%, and dropped slightly for 22 to 25-year-olds from 10% to 9%.

A coronavirus vaccineA coronavirus vaccine
A coronavirus vaccine

The first otherwise healthy 16 and 17 year-olds in the UK received their Covid-19 jabs on Friday, two days after a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to extend the programme

Until that point, some under-18s had been eligible for a jab if they had certain health conditions, lived with someone who is immunocompromised or were approaching their 18th birthday

The extension of the rollout means all of the UK’s 1.4 million 16 and 17-year-olds are now eligible to get a first dose

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For the ONS survey, vaccine hesitancy refers to adults who have chosen not to be vaccinated, report being very or fairly unlikely to have a vaccine if offered, responded “neither likely nor unlikely”, “don’t know” or “prefer not to say” when asked how likely they would be to get a jab if offered

The ONS said its data involved 15,433 people aged 16 and above in England, Scotland and Wales

Overall, more than nine in 10 adults (96%) reported positive sentiment towards coronavirus vaccines while 4% reported hesitancy – figures unchanged from the previous findings which covered May 26 to June 20.

Most areas of Great Britain have seen a reduction in vaccine hesitancy, the ONS said

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Areas which previously had the highest hesitancy in the early part of the year have seen falls, with inner London east dropping from 13% to 7%, outer London west and the North West from 12% to 7%, and west Wales and the Valleys decreasing from 11% to 5% for the period between April and July.

The findings suggest the most hesitant groups are in London and the Midlands.

Some 15% of young adults aged between 16 and 29 in the West Midlands reported vaccine hesitancy in the latest survey period

In this area there were almost a fifth (19%) of the unemployed saying they were hesitant towards coronavirus vaccines, while the figure among this group in London was 17%.

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In the East Midlands more than a third (34%) of black or black British adults reported vaccine hesitancy.

In the English regions, London and the West Midlands recorded high rates of hesitancy among adults living in deprived areas – both at 12%.

The ONS said it could not provide hesitancy rates by deprivation for Scotland and Wales due to the small sample sizes.

Overall, the figure for hesitancy among black or black British adults was 21%, compared with 18% for the previous survey

Vaccine hesitancy among white adults remained at 4%

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Hesitancy was higher for adults identifying as Muslim (14%) or other (14%) for their religion, compared with adults who identify as Christian (4%).

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