Almost one in five people under the age of 25 do not intend to have the Covid vaccine, according to research from healthcare app myGP.
The findings of two behavioural studies among more than 2,600 under 25s revealed that 17.7% of participants will decline to be vaccinated – a fall of 3% since March.
Reasons for not wanting the jab included scepticism about how quickly the Covid vaccine was developed and tested; worry over the potential long-term side effects; and concern about the risk of vaccination in pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Participants also cited negative reactions to previous vaccinations, and believing they were not at risk from Covid because of their age, as reasons for turning the vaccine down.
This comes as Public Health England published data showing that people in their twenties now have the highest rate of infection of any age group since mass testing began at the start of the pandemic, with nearly 1,155 cases per 100,000 people.
Dr William Budd, clinical research physician at Imperial College, urged young people to seek reliable information about the vaccine before making a decision, adding that ‘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’.
The NHS on Sunday also issued a ‘vaccine rallying cry’ to young people to come forward and be vaccinated.
It said that ‘anyone yet to get their jab, particularly young people, [should] come forward and take up the offer to protect themselves, their friends and family’.
Some 88% of the adult population has now had a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 70% have had both doses.
From August, patients in England will be able to direct specific questions about their Covid vaccine record to a new dedicated service, details of which will be provided by NHS digital in due course.