"The best way to get accurate answers is to speak to a healthcare provider, whether its your GP or a member of the team in the vaccination centre."
New research from myGP, the UK’s largest NHS-accredited independent healthcare management app, reveals almost 18% of under 25s don't plan to get vaccinated. The findings are the result of two behavioural studies which took place in March and July 2021 to measure changes in vaccine perception and identify the top reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
Amongst the 2,600 under 25s involved in the studies, vaccine confidence fell by 3% between the two months, with those not planning to receive the vaccine rising to 17.8%. If this trend continues, almost one in five students may decide against vaccination throughout the next academic term. Misinformation around vaccines has exacerbated this downward trend and the summer holidays are a pivotal moment to bolster the safety of students through vaccination. The latest data from Public Health England's (PHE) coronavirus infection report revealed 20 to 29-year-olds now have the highest infection rate of any age group since the beginning of the pandemic (1,154 per 100,000).
Of the 17.8% who did not intend to get the vaccine, 22.4% said they would change their mind if vaccine passports were to be made mandatory in entertainment venues. However, vaccine hesitancy proved to have significant sway, with 77.6% stating they would instead try to find venues which did not require a vaccine passport.
Of those who said they did not intend to book a vaccine appointment, the 5 main reasons were:
1. Concern over the speed the vaccine was produced and tested
2. Worry over future long term side effects
3. Potential risk to babies - if vaccinated while pregnant or breastfeeding
4. Belief they were not at risk of infection due to age
5. Previous negative reactions to vaccines
We can offer a myth-busting interview with Dr William Budd, Clinical Research Physician at Imperial College, who has played an instrumental role in the vaccine clinical trials. Recently interviewed in i Paper for his use of TikTok to dispel vaccine myths, Dr Budd's insights could help reassure students who either fear the vaccine or simply do not believe they are at risk of infection.
Dr William Budd, Medical Advisor to myGP, commented on the above concerns stopping under 25s from wanting the vaccine:
“With the amount of misinformation out there, it’s no surprise that these five issues appeared repeatedly in the myGP study. Fortunately, there’s extensive, scientifically-backed research to show why these points shouldn’t be stumbling blocks in your journey to get vaccinated. The jargon used around Covid-19 can be overwhelming, which is why I’ve spent the last year breaking down vaccine news and misconceptions into TikToks that users don’t need a medical degree to understand.
My advice to any young people worried about potential side effects is to avoid going down a Google rabbit hole. The best way to get accurate answers is to speak to a healthcare provider, whether it’s your GP or a member of the team in the vaccination centre. For those hesitant to get their jab, I’d strongly encourage you to at least book your appointment. When you’re there, you have no legal obligation to go through with the jab, but I guarantee the team can answer all questions you have and, hopefully, help you reach a point where you’re confident to join the millions of under 25s who’ve already been vaccinated.”