‘I just don’t trust the vaccine’: Meet the students who are choosing not to get jabbed

‘A lot of people just don’t understand my feelings’

We’re nearly two years into the pandemic and over 50 million people in the UK have received their Covid-19 vaccine. Last week over-18s were even called up to receive their third booster jab.

Despite the government encouraging everyone to get jabbed and ensuring it is safe for everyone to do so, there are still a number of young people who have chosen not to get vaccinated.

The Tab spoke to five students who have chosen not to get vaccinated, and many said their choice is a taboo subject amongst their friends and family, often leaving them feeling judged, shamed and mistreated as a result.

‘A lot of people just don’t understand my feelings’

Maddie, a second year student at Newcastle said that her phobia of needles has led to her decision to not get vaxxed. She said: “I’m literally terrified so even if I wanted to get jabbed I couldn’t”.

Maddie pointed out how there is very little support on offer for people with phobias like this. She told The Tab: “The unknown of whether I’m going to be able to live my life has caused me so much anxiety.”


She also said she was very thankful that the government introduced the negative lateral flows as a passport for clubs otherwise she would’ve been “completely stuck if not”.

Maddie said that she finds it very difficult to communicate her choice with others: “It feels like a lot of people don’t understand my feelings and dismiss them as just being a bit scared. But if I was just scared, I would get it done to be able to live my life as normally as possible.

“A lot of my family have been supportive but some friends think I’m making excuses or think I’m silly for putting my health at risk. All I know is that until I’ve completed treatment and feel confident I can do it I’m not going to force my self.”

‘I have a very strong distrust of allowing the government to force a population to do anything in life’

Matthew, a recent grad from University of Manchester told The Tab that he doesn’t trust the vaccine.

He told The Tab: “I tend to look very closely into things in life, including the effects of things that go into my body. I had read some articles by various scientists warning the technology involved was dangerous.

“I have a very strong distrust of allowing the government to force a population to do anything in life, especially when it comes to the independent body we live in.”


Matthew said that even if he believed the jab was safe, he still wouldn’t take it – because of the requirement to.

He continued: “I have told some friends, some were understanding, some not. I choose to try and avoid arguing about it as much as it’s just a pain and it’s similar to arguing with a brick wall.”

‘I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m just not willing to mess with my body’

“My reason for not getting vaccinated is mainly because my friend got his vaccine and was then ill for quite a while – we think because of the jab”, Chenice a second year student at Liverpool Hope told The Tab.

“His symptoms were horrific and I had to care for him –  he was hospitalised and it got really bad.”

According to Chenice, this experience was particularly difficult for her because she is diagnosed with PTSD, paranoia and psychotic depression. As a result, she can imagine scenarios that she believes will happen and has an “irrational fear of dying”.

“It may sound silly, but putting the vaccine into my body and not knowing how my body will react is one of my current fears,” she said.

“I feel like they promised that vaccines would be voluntary but now there are certain places you can’t go, things you can’t do without having a vaccine and it doesn’t look like we will have much freedom left soon.

“I get so many people thinking I’m an anti-government conspiracy theorist when they find out I’m not vaxxed, but I live alone and I’m not harming anyone by not having it. My mental health matters too much in my opinion and I cant help the way my brain works. I hope that people can eventually understand that.”

‘I just don’t trust the vaccine – it’s as simple as that’

Harvie, a second year student at Manchester Uni said that for him it’s a simple matter of not trusting the vaccine or the government.

He told The Tab how his decision has affected his relationships with others: “I do feel awkward talking about it as everyone has their own beliefs. So when you do talk about it, you either get someone who is on the none vaccine side or the vaccinated side. Either way there’s always an argument to be had.”


‘I don’t feel comfortable because of how quickly it was produced’

The vaccine, although proved to be largely safe, has had a small number of recorded health side effects. According to William, a third year student at Manchester, this is the biggest reason as to why he’s decided not to get vaxxed.

He said: “I appreciate it would have been through large scale, in depth testing however, they weren’t aware of the problems (only affecting a tiny minority). So I would rather wait and see.”

He also said his views were not always well-received, “A lot of people are very scared of Covid, which I don’t blame them for, but it seems any sort of caution or fear around the vaccines is instantly labeled anti-vaxx, selfish, or stupid. I have all my other jabs and take mine and others health important but I am responsible for myself so until I am comfortable after more months of testing etc that’s the decision I decided to take for myself.

“I have found I have had to bite my tongue a lot especially in uni, my friends took the time for me to explain my reasons, but a lot of people instantly label me as a bad person.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

These are the uni cities with the most Covid cases right now

• I got fired from my pub job after refusing to come in to work with Covid symptoms

• Meet the students who’ll be spending Christmas Day isolated away from their families