Concern over ‘substantial and consistent’ decline in demand for Covid vaccines

Vaccine booster demand down following message of “less serious” impacts of Omicron

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Tuesday 25 January 2022 12:35
The requirement for frontline staff to be vaccinated against coronavirus must be abandoned, a social care boss has warned (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The requirement for frontline staff to be vaccinated against coronavirus must be abandoned, a social care boss has warned (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A major trust has warned it has seen a “substantial and consistent” decline in booster vaccination demand as daily jab levels decline.

Demand for booster vaccines has taken a hit following Christmas and New Year Holiday as rates in younger people having a booster have dropped.

Leeds Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust warned about the decline in board papers this week noting the decline may be linked to messages about the “less serious” nature of Omicron.

According to the latest data almost 50 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have yet to have a boost and 46 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds.

Meanwhile, daily vaccination rates for boosters have dropped to 42,000, down from more than 100,000 on 31 December, despite promises from the government million a day would be jabbed by the New Year.

The government claimed this month it hit the target to offer all adults a booster vaccination by 31 December, and said 81 per cent of eligible adults have had their booster.

Latest data for 23 January showed 64 per cent of adults have had their booster or third jab – it is not clear whether the remaining 36 per cent are people who are not eligible.

In an analysis on Friday the Covid Actuaries Response Group said: “Since the New Year progress with booster jabs has continued to slow, with fewer than half a million done in England in the last week.”

The analysis said figures showed: “engaging with the young has been more difficult, even though these will have previously come forward for their full primary course.”

Last week the UK Health Security Agency said published a report showing third Covid vaccination doses slightly increased protection against hospitalisation.

According to its report a third dose has been linked to a 74 per cent reduced risk of hospitalisation in the first 2-4 weeks after vaccination. This drops slightly to a 66 per cent reduction 10 weeks after the jab.

The news comes as the UK drops its Covid-19 restrictions heading back to “Plan A”, meaning people are now no longer advised to work from home and masks are no longer mandatory.

In a release last week the government said vaccinations remained the “best defence” against Covid-19.

According to reports from the Health Service Journal the expiry date on thousands of Covid vaccine doses was extended after it was feared “millions” would be wasted this month.

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