Figures suggest that older teenagers might not be as keen about getting vaccinated against Covid as the Government had hoped, with the percentage of 16-18 year-olds who have been ‘jabbed’ remaining fairly flat in recent weeks. MailOnline has the story.
Only around 55% of 16 and 17 year-olds in England had their first dose by September 26th, latest data shows, a number which had barely risen in the previous three weeks.
Meanwhile, fewer than 10% of 12 to 15 year-olds have come forward for their vaccine. But it only includes one week of data from the point when the majority of teens were eligible.
The analysis was revealed in a weekly report by the new U.K. Health Security Agency, which took over axed Public Health England’s pandemic duties today.
It showed that uptake in the age group was sitting at about 20% at the start of August. This shot up to 50% in the three weeks after the roll-out was expanded to all older teenagers on August 19th. But the progress appears to have stalled in recent weeks, rising just five or so per cent in September.
All age groups have seen a natural stagnation in uptake, with the threshold being much higher in older age groups who are most susceptible to getting severe Covid. For example, the ceiling was about 90% in the over-70s and 80% in people over the age of 50.
Experts said they were not necessarily surprised by the plateau. Cambridge University Epidemiologist Dr. Raghib Ali told MailOnline the enthusiasm for jabs in older teenagers was lower because so many have already had Covid “so don’t feel they need to get vaccinated”.
Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, revealed earlier this month that about half of children had caught the virus at some point already and therefore developed some immunity. Official figures today also suggested one in 20 children were carrying the virus on any given day last week.
“There is no doubt that all vaccines in current use are very good at protecting a vaccinated person from getting infected and getting severe disease but a prior infection does that just as well,” according to Professor Paul Hunter, a medical expert at the University of East Anglia.
He told MailOnline: “So ultimately I am not particularly concerned about the current low uptake of the vaccine in this age group.”