“I I was thinking this morning that it’s a bit like a race, ”said Javid. said last wednesday commenting on the launch of vaccines in Britain. “Older adults have contributed their bit. Now we need them to help us start winning in that race. We have passed the baton to the youngest and we say to them: ‘Please help us’ ”.
It seems that the health secretary wants you to believe that young people are now solely responsible for the consequences of his government’s pandemic response. Forget about “freedom day” or the delayed India travel ban that helped the Delta variant break into this country. Now it seems that the real blame lies with a generation that doubts about vaccines and will simply not play their part.
Boris Johnson is reportedly “furious” at our vaccine consumption rates. A editorial in the Times last month he was even more explicit, speaking of “the shameful reluctance of young people to follow the older generation to get vaccinated.”
The cover of the Sunday Telegraph this weekend reported that shopping vouchers they will be delivered, in time for the start of the new academic year, “to boost the blows of the youth.” It encourages us to focus on the fact that “only” 67% of those under 29 have received a first dose, which has allegedly forced the government to offer bribes to increase vaccination levels.
But this is the disorientation of a classical conjurer. The question we should ask ourselves is: what is the government trying to divert our attention from with this contrived controversy about supposedly irresponsible youth?
It is true that young people are less enthusiastic about getting vaccinated than the adult population as a whole: one in eight under the age of 30 In recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the data reports wavering, compared with more than one in 25 of the general adult population feeling the same way.
Given the diminishing risk to our lives posed by the virus, this hesitation is to be expected. However, the overwhelming majority of young people want to be hit. The ONS figure obscures the fact two-thirds of young adults have received a single dose, making them the most vaccinated in their age group in the world.
Note that for 16 months this generation has complied with the restrictions that were necessary to protect people largely different from their age group. From the chaos in test scores and the college admissions fiasco to the disproportionately high economic impact on young people, my generation has proven itself prepared to play its part in the necessary social solidarity.
As the NHS put it, there was an “encouraging Glastonbury-style rush” when online reservations for jabs over 18 began, with long lines at walk-in centers across England.
The Reddit online discussion forum, GetJabbed, has become the primary tool for many people looking for a faster way to get a second dose (at four week intervals for Pfizer, say, as opposed to the eight week wait recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization ).
The community works by publicizing the walk-in centers, and users register their own good luck to alert others. The site is full of stories of desperate young people visiting various centers. One of the users, a young woman who wanted to travel to see her terminally ill grandfather and needed a double dose to do so, was among those who were successful. His partner praised the site: “Actually, getting a fix after a lot of rejections specifically on this site is amazing.”
I got my second dose this way, as did many friends. But not everyone is lucky. One walk-in day can be overwhelmed and closed the next, while young people who received the Moderna vaccine for the first time, a comparative rarity, face additional difficulties.
It is true that the number of vaccines administered has been decreasing. But many more would have received their second dose if the government had been more flexible with the eight-week interval (the European Medicines Agency and the US Centers for Disease Control recommend the shorter interval of 21 days between Pfizer injections).
Furthermore, instead of concentrating so much energy on the scapegoats of younger citizens, perhaps we should think about the most urgent aspect of the fight against Covid: the urgent need to vaccinate the people of the poorest nations, both to prevent a catastrophe. humanitarian enough to suppress the appearance of new variants.
Only 0.3% of the doses have been administered in low-income countries. After Canada, the UK has more additional doses per capita than any other country in the world. We have bought enough to fully vaccinate our population four times more. This is the real scandal: Britain has just started shipping this surplus to the territories where these doses are urgently needed.
So far only a small fraction of the doses purchased in the UK (5 million) are being donated to Covax, the global vaccine exchange system.
It is a question of priorities. When those like former M&S chairman and conservative peer Stuart Rose advocate pay youth £ 250 to get vaccinated, has it occurred to you that you might be asking the wrong question? The suggested sum could fully vaccinate dozens of healthcare workers in low-income countries, where only 1.1% of people have received at least one dose.
This is a matter of basic human decency, but it is also in our interest: if we evade the task, a vaccine-resistant variant may emerge and drive everyone, young and old, to square one. Scientists are already concerned about Lambda variant which is wreaking havoc in South America. We have to act fast.
So don’t focus on the supposedly wandering youth. Focus on humanity as a whole, the global mission to vaccinate everyone, and the millions of deaths that the West has the power to prevent right now.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism