Young people are struggling to get the jab and can’t just be painted as lazy anti-vaxxers

These young people’s stories show that shaming students isn’t the magic solution the government thinks it is


Boris Johnson is apparently “raging” because vaccine-uptake among 18-25-year-olds appears to be slow. But there are actually loads of barriers standing in the way of young people, preventing them from getting their first jab.

Last week, Public Health England revealed that only around 60 per cent of 18-25-year-olds have had their first jab and now the government is even considering making it mandatory for students to be double-jabbed before they return to university in September.

It’s very easy for the government to paint young people as anti-vaxxers or maybe just as lazy, but it’s important to remember that many young people are facing legitimate obstacles delaying their ability to get their first coronavirus vaccine.

The Tab spoke to nine young people who have struggled to get jabbed and who are now pissed off with the government for branding them as vaccine-hesitant.

Serena, 21, is trans and was unable to get her vaccine as the NHS couldn’t find her name in the system

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Serena

As soon as it became possible, Serena tried to book her first coronavirus jab online. But her name didn’t come up in the system despite it being the one registered with her GP.

Serena tried her birth / legal name: Connor. It didn’t work. She tried both names repeatedly but the system still couldn’t identify her.

“I honestly was so fed up that I considered not getting it. Then I heard the options of walk-ins about early July and got my jab on the 10th,” Serena told The Tab.

Although Serena has now had the jab, the whole ordeal and the government rhetoric around apparent vaccine hesitancy among the young, has left her frustrated.

“I think the government being angry with young people for “vaccine hesitancy” is bullshit and just doesn’t ring true for most young people I know,” Serena told The Tab. “People have various issues that mean they can fall through the cracks.”

Zahra, 20, found out she had Covid the day before she was meant to get her first vaccine

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Zahra

Zahra has been unable to get vaccinated yet, but it’s through no fault of her own.

She was scheduled to have her first jab a few days after attending a government trial concert, but caught coronavirus at the event and was forced to self-isolate. As a result, she missed her vaccination appointment and will have to wait four weeks until she’s allowed to have her first dose.

“It’s annoying as young people had to wait so long to even be offered the jab, despite the vast majority of us fully supporting vaccination, and now I’m a month behind my friends as I’m the only one that caught it when we were there,” Zahra told The Tab.

Two other people who spoke to The Tab, Sophie and Katie, were in exactly the same boat.

Spike, 23, works in a bar and has been unable to get his jab as he’s constantly having to self-isolate

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Spike

Spike also booked his vaccine as soon as he could, but has still yet to receive his first jab. He works as a training coordinator in a cocktail bar and, like many in the hospitality industry, has been forced into self-isolation and out of work repeatedly.

In total, Spike has had to self-isolate three times since his bar opened up again, and has booked his first jab five times due to work constraints.

Despite calls for workers in the hospitality industry to be exempt from the self-isolation rule, the government isn’t looking like allowing this anytime soon.

Liam, 25, didn’t even have Covid, but because he was pinged by the app, his vaccine was delayed

Liam booked his vaccine early doors, but got a notification from the NHS app saying he had to self-isolate. “As everyone in my age group had gone mad for booking it at the time I had to reschedule and wait an extra two and a half weeks to even get the first one,” Liam told The Tab.

Sophie, 25, tried to book her appointment as early as possible, and still had to wait two months until her first jab

Sophie had to wait two months for her first appointment. There were no drop-in centres in Sophie’s area until the week when her first jab was actually booked.

“It just feels like we haven’t been given a chance to get it before they’ve said we’re all hesitant,” Sophie told The Tab.

Helen, 20, contracted Covid after getting her first jab and how has to wait an extra four weeks before her second

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Helen

Helen got her first jab back in April and was due to have her second at the end of June. Unfortunately, she got Covid that week, so she had to self-isolate and wait an extra four weeks for her final dose.

“I feel it’s unfair to criticise young people for the lack of uptake when similar situations have happened and will happen to others,” Helen told The Tab. “Especially now with the ‘pingdemic’ crisis and so many people having to isolate, underlying circumstances need to be considered before sweeping statements are made against all young people.”

Lucy*, 20, had genuine concerns about the side-effects and was worried about getting the vaccine

Some young people have genuine concerns about the vaccine and its side effects, often grounded in personal experience.

Lucy* told The Tab: “I was just a bit uncertain about it for a while, partly because of the possible risks, and also as there were a few things about allergic reactions.

“Me and my brother both have allergies so were a bit put off. But now I am okay with getting it and am booking an appointment.”

You can book your coronavirus vaccine by following this link.

Names with an * have been changed to preserve anonymity.

If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

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• A third of young people still haven’t had their first dose of the Covid vaccine