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The pandemic

Why the young aren’t getting jabbed

A student protest in London last August. Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Getty Images

There’s a lack of vaccine enthusiasm in the young, says Georgia Chambers in the I newspaper. Fewer than 60% of those aged 18-25 have had their first jab. It isn’t just because they’re not worried about Covid – as multiple studies have shown, they don’t trust the government. And why would they? Britain’s young have spent a “large chunk of their lives” under austerity and carrying the economic and social burden of the 2008 crash. Their university and housing costs soared while the government kept telling them both were perfectly affordable. A “deep-rooted” belief formed that Westminster wasn’t serving their best interests.

This has only been reinforced by the pandemic: under-35s account for about 80% of job losses since March 2020 and, rather than tackling youth unemployment, the government has introduced vaccine passports for nightclubs, university lectures and even halls of residence. These are harsh measures, given the young were the last to be offered the vaccine, but they’re probably forceful enough to sway people into getting their jabs. Earning back the trust the government so desperately needs is another matter; the Tories risk “losing an entire generation”.