The health secretary, Matt Hancock has said that the UK is on track to offer a Covid vaccine to all adults by the end of July. Those under the age of the 30 will be given the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, where possible, after very rare cases of blood clotting were linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
As experts urge this age cohort to continue to get vaccinated, encouraging them to think of the wider benefits to their communities, six people under the age of 30 have spoken about the UK vaccine rollout and what having a jab will mean for them.
‘We, “the future of society”, have been forgotten’
Vittoria CMP, 20, student, London
The pandemic has shown how little millennials and Gen Z are taken into consideration in our society, and the vaccine rollout is further confirmation of this. We, young people, have made unimaginable sacrifices in the past year, being forced to stay at home to protect our elders.
What was supposed to be the best period of our lives simply was not a possibility anymore. Undoubtedly, in terms of mental health and general wellbeing, people who are now between 18 and 30 will be the most affected. We, “the future of society”, have been forgotten. Once again, institutions have abandoned us. Giving us the vaccine first would have meant that we matter for this country, that someone is concerned about how the “Covid generation” is (not) coping with the pandemic.
‘I can’t wait to be vaccinated’
Dr Billy Bryan, 27, senior policy consultant, Brighton
I feel good about the vaccine rollout so far. It is going faster than I first thought it would, though it was always going to feel painfully slow. I feel reassured that the vast majority will be vaccinated by the end of July, and fully vaccinated by September (I hope). I believe most young people will opt-in for vaccination. I personally can’t wait and have no concerns about being vaccinated. We are a “captive” audience in more ways than one to the benefits of it.
One thing is that people might start to feel invincible once they have the first vaccination, even though they can still spread it and contract it. My mum, a community nurse, got Covid after having had her first jab and gave it to my dad. Even fully vaccinated, the spreading can still happen, and the virus is a moving target in terms of variants. Either way, I think the relaxing of restrictions is a good thing as long as the basics are followed: hand-washing and distancing as much as possible. It’s just something we have to live with and, if we’re lucky, it will be a thing of the past in three to five years.
‘It doesn’t take into account that young adults work the most in hospitality’
Samantha, 26, works in retail, Sefton, Merseyside
I am feeling hopeful about the rollout as well as excited to receive my vaccination when the time comes, as I won’t be limited anymore on what myself and other young adults can do, i.e holidays abroad. However, from reading the articles in papers around vaccination passports and that young people won’t be having the vaccine in time for certain things to be eased, it doesn’t take into account that “young adults” work the most in hospitality. It’s quite confusing that if we reopen and go back to “normal”, how can we, when the majority of people who work in those areas haven’t been vaccinated yet?
It has amazed me that so many people don’t realise that, yes, the AstraZeneca vaccine may cause blood clots, but how many women are on the contraceptive pill and know about similar risks? I’m not saying it’s just the pill, but also the numerous people who drink alcohol, smoke or even have high blood pressure and have to take blood thinners daily.
‘I’m more than happy to get the vaccine myself, though I feel it’s immaterial’
Lewis, 29, architect, London
It’s been amusing watching the government’s twists and turns as it vacillates between blaming young people for not locking down properly, blaming us for being hesitant in getting the jab, assuring us jabs will be available, then indicating our vaccines will be delayed. I expect to get my first vaccine sometime around July, if all goes well.
Everybody else in my family has already had the vaccine, including my younger brother. I’m not a sceptic by any means, but working in construction I have been on-site, on public transport and in the office since last May. I can almost guarantee that I have had the virus at least once but antibody tests were never rolled out properly, and I did not have any symptoms so was not entitled to a test (though I still went ahead and got them, all negative). I’m more than happy to get the vaccine myself, though I feel it’s immaterial seeing as a significant proportion of the population will have already had it before me.
‘I’m not 100% certain if I’ll be going for my second dose’
Esmé Stephenson, 26, actor, Tynemouth, Newcastle upon Tyne
I was invited for my vaccination quite early on in March, which surprised me as I only have a mild form of epilepsy – I am otherwise physically fit and healthy. I had my first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – I was bedbound with flu-like symptoms and had a headache for a few days afterwards. I don’t think anybody who is dubious about the vaccine, or vaccines in general for that matter, should be dismissed as idiotic and selfish when there is so much we still don’t know.
I’m not 100% certain if I’ll be going for my second dose, which is booked for May, unless something changes or if I can be reassured that I am not putting myself at further risk. I don’t feel qualified to comment on the vaccine in great detail as I am not a scientist; nonetheless, I do have the right to be concerned with what I put in my body/what I am being told to put in my body.
‘The quicker we start getting the younger generations inoculated, the easier life will become’
Jack Ellis, 29, works in financial services, Bedford
I think the vaccines should be as mandatory as humanly possible. The quicker we start getting the younger generations inoculated, the easier life will become. I don’t share any of the scepticism other younger people do regarding the vaccine, and I know this is the best thing for us all to do. My partner and I have just had our first child, and I want him to be able to grow up in a Covid-free world.
As young people, we have shouldered a lot of blame – not always wrongly, admittedly – during the pandemic. Back in the autumn after the “eat out to help out” scheme, as an entire generation, young people were blamed for the increase in cases. If we rally together to get vaccinated as soon as we can, it is going to mean we can actually enjoy this year. My concern is a lot of people – not just the younger generation – are sacking off the vaccine because of the fake news they see around social media. It’s toxic and so damaging. And when people have risked and given up so much in the last 12 months, it hurts to see people you know and like sharing this sort of nonsense.