U.K. Finds Greater Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Young People

The U.K. is finding young people more reluctant to take Covid-19 vaccines than adults, potentially complicating the next stage in the fight against the disease.

Some 14% of 16-to-17 year olds were hesitant to get vaccinated in the month to June 20, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. That’s 10 points higher than the rate for adults. It was the first time the ONS looked at the younger population in its monthly research on vaccine hesitancy.

The figures indicate the difficulty the government faces as it weighs when to immunize children, one of the measures health officials say is necessary to fully protect society from the virus. It’s becoming a nightmare for schools, with 5.1% of students absent due to Covid-19 in the last week.

The U.K. government is considering mandatory testing instead of self-isolation to reduce the impact on education and parents who have to support sick children.

Vaccines could be another solution. So far jabs aren’t yet available to the young in Britain, a contrast with France and Italy, which are already giving doses to those above age 12.

Infections are spreading rapidly in the U.K., with 1-in-260 testing positive in England in the week to June 26, almost double the 1-in-440 reading a week ago. In Scotland, infections hit 1-in-150 people.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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