Vaccination rates amongst young people are slowing down. And people seem surprised. Cue a flurry of activity to find creative ways of encouraging them to increase the inoculation take. Send buses to the footie! Pitch up at IKEA! Instead of beer tents, put up jag tents!

To be fair the Scottish Government did seem to foresee there might be an issue with young folk way back in April this year, as demonstrated by their Roll Up Your Sleeve campaign which portrayed a diverse bunch of young folk wheeking up their sleeves to funky music and flashing night club vibes but now the figures are showing a real and pronounced tailing off in take-up. It’s also fair to say is it any wonder this group are proving slower than others in coming forward with the weird mixed messaging that they’ve been getting from the UK Government?

In Scotland, 72% of this group have taken the first jab but only 22% both jabs. Whilst a significant number of these might be those who are ‘too busy’ enjoying the decent weather to get to a drop-in centre or, in the case of a friend of mine’s son, recovering from coronavirus and been told he shouldn’t present for his jag until four weeks after his isolation, there are many who have done the risk/reward maths and decided that the rewards are less.

The news in April that the Astra Zeneca vaccine would not be administered to those under 30 may have seeded doubt that the other coronavirus vaccines might have undiscovered side effects too. Not helped by the constant onslaught of conspiracy theorists on social media most young people I know spend 80% of the day scrolling through – a vicious circle where the more anxious they feel as a result of isolation, loneliness or a lack of certainty about their futures leads them to consume more social media.

One could argue that young people who have grown up with the internet and social media should be more discerning about the information they glean from the internet but when faced with a video of a former nurse screeching about NHS workers being “hung” after the Nuremberg trials, at the weekend, or today, a less extreme Twitter post by Laurence Fox congratulating young people who do not “succumb” to the government “trying to bully them into taking their medicine”, I can sort of understand their hesitation.

The figures in England for take-up in this group appear to be slowing too. Again how can we be surprised when young people also saw the content of our Prime Minister’s tweets to Dominic Cummings about it only being people over 80 that would die, the allegations about “letting the bodies pile high” and even the language used in the UK Health secretary’s tweet over the weekend about not ‘cowering’ to the virus?

Fair enough, he has apologised, but that sentiment will play right into the hands of a young, a wee bit brash, a wee bit cocky lad who wants to be seen as the big man who’s no feart of some virus.

Also, what stronger message could there have been from the UK government that it matters not a jot if they get Covid than to open night clubs on so-called Freedom Day knowing full well there hadn’t been enough time for young people to be fully vaccinated?

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the pandemic it is that messaging is everything and messaging must be consistent. When, as a parent you’re arguing with your late-teens kids about Covid-19 restrictions, every discussion becomes like a court of law where you constantly deliver the official line and they gleefully pull out the exceptions and the precedents which normally render your case completely invalid.

I should at this point say that both of mine have had their first jabs when invited but one did say he did so only out of a sense of civic duty and not because he feared the effects Covid would have on him. He had recently had it and was relatively unscathed, and brimming with antibodies he reckoned he’d be alright.

This individualism that we encourage in our kids once they get to 18 chimes with the libertarianism of both the right and left of politics. Moral autonomy, freedom of choice, and protection from external interference like the State become very problematic in a pandemic, however.

This has become clear in Israel. The country of 8.8 million which offered the rest of the world a text book example of how to deal with Covid didn’t quite get the take-up of the vaccination from certain groups that it needed to bring about that much vaunted herd immunity and, at the weekend we saw Prime Minster Naftali Bennett announce restrictions on Israelis who were unvaccinated.

From August 8th these people cannot attend football games, synagogues, cinemas or nightclubs without a negative test. He said the one million who refused it – including some 600,000 young people – were endangering public health and freedoms. Mr Bennett clearly understands that to get his country’s economy fully up and running he needs the firm hand of the State.

The problem with a significant number of young people not being vaccinated is that there is a large group who are still susceptible meaning there’s an opportunity for another wave of coronavirus, new variants and of course the prospect of a never-ending pingdemic and pandemic as young people living with older people cause their entire families to have to self isolate.

It’s the prospect of that that should get them rolling up their sleeves rather than whether they’ll get sick with Covid.

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