United Kingdom

Coffee and cinema tickets could be new incentives to beat Covid vaccine hesitancy in youngsters 

Young people could be offered a free latte or cinema ticket in return for having the Covid jab under plans being discussed by ministers.

The Government yesterday announced commercial tie-ups that will see firms like Deliveroo and Uber offer discounted takeaways and taxi rides to people who sign up for vaccination.

A Government source said that further deals were expected in the coming days with cinema chains, coffee franchises and high street restaurants potentially involved.

However ministers have ruled out offering cash bribes as seen in the United States where newly-vaccinated citizens are to be offered $100 in cash, equal to £72.

‘There is a lot of work going on into broadening this out into other areas,’ the source said.

‘We will not be offering cash payments but we hope there will be a range of attractive high street incentives that will encourage more people to come forward and have the jab.’

Boris Johnson is said to be frustrated that 30 per cent of people aged under 30 have still not come forward for their first jab, more than six weeks after vaccinations were opened up to all adults.

A Government source said vaccinations in the age group were currently running at 40-50,000 a day, but added: ‘We’d like to be doing a lot more.’ 

Young people could be offered a free latte or cinema ticket in return for having the Covid jab under plans being discussed by ministers. Pictured: Vaccinator Hari Roberts administers the first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to an 18 year old Zuzanna Szelag at a vaccination centre in north London

The Government yesterday announced commercial tie-ups that will see firms like Deliveroo and Uber offer discounted takeaways and taxi rides to people who sign up for vaccination. Coffee companies, like Costa, could also be involved

A Government source said that further deals were expected in the coming days with cinema chains (pictured: Library image), coffee franchises and high street restaurants potentially involved

Boris Johnson (pictured) is said to be frustrated that 30 per cent of people aged under 30 have still not come forward for their first jab, more than six weeks after vaccinations were opened up to all adults

Enforcing vaccine passports 'not a very British way to behave,' says Jacob Rees-Mogg 

Enforcing vaccine passports is ‘not a British way to behave’, Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the Government.

The Leader of the Commons broke ranks to say the policy should only be considered for nightclubs, and even then only temporarily. Other ministers, including Boris Johnson, have suggested the passports could be used for concerts, sports events, business conferences, busy bars and even workplaces.

In a sign of Government nervousness over the issue, sources yesterday confirmed that ministers have abandoned plans to make Covid vaccines compulsory for university students. Mr Rees-Mogg said the Government had to consider the importance of preserving ‘ancient freedoms’, as well as controlling Covid. ‘We don’t want to get into a society where routinely people are expected to show their papers,’ he said.

Andrew Bridgen, one of 43 Conservative MPs to sign a declaration opposing vaccine passports, yesterday said Parliament should be recalled from its summer recess if ministers are ‘serious’ about asking people to show proof of their vaccine status to gain entry to domestic venues and events.

Fellow Tory Bob Blackman said that even introducing vaccine passports for nightclubs would be a ‘slippery slope’.

Mr Blackman added: ‘When is a night club a pub or when is a pub a nightclub? If you start enforcing it in nightclubs, it will rapidly be enforced in pubs and restaurants.’ The call means cross-party backing is emerging for the Commons to return before September.

The PM has announced that he intends to change the rules in September so only those who are fully vaccinated can attend nightclubs. And last week Cabinet ministers Grant Shapps and Dominic Raab backed businesses operating so called ‘no jab, no job’ policies that only allow fully vaccinated people into the workforce.

But speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Any Questions, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘We have an ancient right to go about our lawful business without being expected to prove who we are or what we’re doing to anybody... we should protect our ancient freedoms very carefully.’

And Tory grandee Sir David Lidington told Times Radio that introducing a ‘Government certificate of approval’ to access certain events would set a ‘dangerous precedent’.

The move to offer incentives follows controversy over Government efforts to force young people to have the jab by introducing vaccine passports.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘I personally don’t think it would get through the House of Commons in any event and that’s why the Government has moved on to this carrot inducements for young people.’

Labour environment spokesman Luke Pollard said the party was ‘very cautious’ about domestic Covid passports with leader Sir Keir Starmer ruling out supporting them for use in ‘everyday life’ setting up the possibility of a Government defeat on the policy.

Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the first brands who will be offering incentives to encourage youngsters to get inoculated, Department for Health has announced.

Taxi app firm Uber will offer discounted rides and meals on its Uber Eats platform for young adults who receive a vaccine, while Deliveroo is planning to give vouchers to young people who get jabbed.

Mr Pollard, who dubbed the offer ‘kebabs for jabs’, said he doubted the concept ‘is going to be enough to get that last 30 per cent of young people’ vaccinated, and called for youngsters to be given more of a role in leading the campaign to get protected from the virus.

Ministers could also face questions about whether the plan complies with the Government’s anti-obesity strategy.

But they are determined to drive up vaccination rates among the young before the winter.

The vaccination rollout has slumped to the lowest rate since it began as demand slows to a trickle due to vaccine hesitancy in the young.

Currently first doses are averaging just 40,000 a day, compared with more than half a million a day in March.

Latest Government figures show that on Saturday there were just 38,851 first doses, compared with 212,159 second jabs. The fall in demand has forced doctors to send back unused vaccine doses to prevent them going out of date.

Dr Rosemary Leonard, an NHS GP, said on Twitter: ‘Please, please, could young people be allowed to get their vaccines earlier than eight weeks.

'Numerous colleagues telling me of 100s of doses being thrown away, yet “early requesters” at clinics being turned down.

‘I’ve heard of one clinic having to bin 1,000 doses of Pfizer because it had expired, yet turning people away for second dose.’

Some 170,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are at risk of expiry within the next fortnight because not enough youngsters are coming forward, it is claimed.

Beccy Baird, a fellow at The King’s Fund, also said the young’s vaccine hesitancy is making it harder to know where to prioritise jabs.

So far 88 per cent of adults have had one dose and 72.5 per cent have had both doses.

In total, more than 85million doses have been administered across the UK.

Last night Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘In under eight months, health services across the UK have delivered more than 85million doses – this is a phenomenal achievement.

'It has shown Britain at its best. From our NHS administering the jabs, to the Armed Forces, thousands of volunteers and civil servants, you have all played an important role in getting us to this life-saving milestone – and I want to thank you all for your tireless efforts.

‘Please get both of your jabs if you haven’t already to protect yourself and your loved ones.’

Ten-year age drop in Covid patients because of the vaccine rollout 

The average age of Covid patients in intensive care has plummeted by ten years because of the vaccine rollout.

Over the past three months, the critically-ill have been 49 on average, compared with 59 in the second wave of the pandemic.

Around half of those admitted to intensive care units are under 50, and nearly one third under 40.

The NHS figures illustrate the dramatic success of vaccines in protecting older adults, almost all of whom have been double-jabbed. Wards are instead filling up with those most likely to be unvaccinated, including young adults, pregnant women and people from black or deprived communities.

Coronavirus is still in retreat across Britain, boosting hopes that the third wave is ebbing.

Weekly infections are down by 30 per cent and yesterday 24,470 cases were reported, down from a summer peak of 54,674 on July 17.

Another 65 deaths were logged while the number of patients in hospital with the virus has dropped slightly.

Daily hospital admissions for Covid have still not topped 1,000 a day despite warnings from scientists that this was inevitable. Another 911 were recorded yesterday, taking the total to 5,916. This compares with nearly 40,000 in January.

Although cases have been similar to the January peak, vaccines have slashed the numbers in hospital. Two doses provide over 90 per cent protection against hospitalisation.

A report by the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre looked at the 2,385 people admitted to intensive care with Covid since May 1.

This was compared with data from 25,810 patients admitted to ICUs during the second wave, from September last year through to April. It revealed admissions are soaring among groups of the population with high levels of vaccine hesitancy, including pregnant women.

The proportion of admissions in this group is twice as high as in the second wave. Some 29 per cent of women of childbearing age admitted to ICU since May were either pregnant or had recently given birth. This figure had been 14 per cent in the previous waves.

Separate research showed 99 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with the virus had not been vaccinated.

Since April, pregnant women have been eligible for the vaccine at the same time as the rest of their age group but just one in 12 have come forward.

England’s chief midwife has written to GPs and midwives telling them to encourage expectant mothers to have a jab. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent told pregnant women that ‘the jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital’.

The proportion of admissions among black Britons has also nearly doubled, reflecting higher vaccine hesitancy in some ethnic minority groups.

Nearly one in ten patients are black, compared with one in 20 in the second wave. Nearly four in ten admissions are now among the poorest 20 per cent of Britons, which is linked to lower vaccine uptake.

Stuart McDonald, of the Covid-19 Actuaries Group, which analyses admission data, said: ‘This virus has always discriminated. The more deprived in our society are both more likely to be exposed and more likely to get very ill once exposed.

‘In the third wave, the socio-economic gradient is worse than ever.

‘The most deprived fifth of the population are four times as likely to be admitted to ICU as the least deprived fifth.

‘This worsening inequality is surely a result of different vaccine uptake.’

ALL over-50s will get Covid booster shots by autumn: People who got AstraZeneca 'are set to be offered a Pfizer jab' in new vaccine drive because it is more effective against Indian variant

ByKatie Feehan For Mailonlineand Glen Owen for The Mail on Sunday

Tens of millions of Britons are expected to be offered a Pfizer booster jab this autumn as the vaccine has proved to be the most effective against the Delta variant.

The booster scheme, which was announced earlier this year, is set to start in September and should see 23million over-50s, vulnerable Britons and NHS and care home staff offered a third dose. 

Extra vaccines would be rolled out in two stages — prioritising those most at risk of Covid, before the programme is extended.

While patients were initially expected to be offered the jab they were originally inoculated with, it is understood all patients will be offered the Pfizer jab as it has proven to be the most effective against the Delta variant.

The Department of Health has yet to confirm the official details of the booster scheme, plans of which were first shared by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in June.

The JCVI is expected to issue its final advice in regards to the booster scheme in the coming months. 

Pictured: A woman receives the AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in Ealing, west London

A senior government source also told the Times that those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine would 'be getting an mRNA booster'.

MRNA used in the Pfizer and Moderna jabs is essentially a DNA instruction to tell your cells how to produce the harmless spike proteins from the virus - allowing your body to create an immune response without being exposed to the virus itself. 

Oxford AstraZeneca is not an mRNA jab - instead using a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees that has been modified to contain genetic material shared by the coronavirus.

Again, this technique means the person receiving the jab is not exposed to the real virus - unlike previous jab types which often relied on weakened or dead forms of the actual virus.

A UK Government-backed study published earlier this year found that mixing and matching Covid vaccines may result in higher protection against the virus.

People who had been vaccinated with AstraZeneca's jab initially and then received a top-up with Pfizer's had nine times more antibodies than those who stuck to the UK vaccine.

Although antibodies are just one part of the immune response, the Oxford University researchers said the findings strongly suggested the approach could enhance immunity.

But it is understood the mix and match approach is not going to be used in the short term more broadly because there is a 'strong supply' of each vaccine type.

A senior HSE source told the Times: 'Currently there's no need for it. Currently we have plenty of vaccines. The amount of vaccine isn't an issue at all. There's no plan to do it. It's not under immediate consideration, but I wouldn't rule it out.'

The Government said analysis has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is 96 per cent effective against the Delta variant while the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses.

Pictured: A young person receives a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab at a vaccination centre for young people and students at the Hunter Street Health Centre in London on June 5

Which jab combinations provided the best protection? 

The early results from the Com-Cov trial, published today in the Lancet, looked at the efficacy of either two doses of Pfizer, two of AstraZeneca, or one of them followed by the other. 

All second doses were given four weeks apart and the trial recruited 830 volunteers who were aged 50 and above.  All combinations worked well, priming the immune system. 

It found: 

— AstraZeneca's vaccine, followed by Pfizer's, induced higher levels of antibodies and T cells than vice versa.

— Both antibodies and T cells, a type of white blood cell, play a crucial role in defending against Covid.

— The mix-match approach produced more antibodies than two regular doses of AstraZeneca's, no matter which way round the jabs were given. 

 — The largest antibody levels were induced after two doses of Pfizer, and the highest T cell response was from AstraZeneca's followed by Pfizer.

A study published this week also showed that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine could offer strong protection against the Delta variant.

Research showed that antibody levels increased five-fold among people ages 18 to 55 who were given the booster shot.

The third dose was especially effecting for the elderly, with antibody levels spiking 11-fold among people aged 65 to 85 who had already received the standard two doses.

In the slides published online, the researchers wrote there there is 'estimated potential for up to 100-fold increase in Delta neutralization post-dose three compared to pre-dose three.' 

The booster roll-out will coincide with the annual influenza inoculation programme, which health officials said will be vital this winter amid warnings of a difficult flu season.

Immunity gained from Covid jabs last for at least six months in the 'majority' of cases, but there are fears this could fade later in the year which could trigger a spike in hospitalisations and deaths.

An Oxford University trial looking at booster doses suggested a third shot six months after the second could restore peak immunity against Covid.

It comes as the week-on-week rate of Covid cases fell yesterday for the tenth day in a row with 26,144 infections marking a 17.8 per cent fall while deaths also fell to 71.

The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University suggests that about 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 52,600 hospitalisations have been prevented by vaccines.

The Government plans to lure young people in for their vaccinations with the promise of cut-price taxis and takeaways, as Boris Johnson tries to tackle the relatively low take-up among the under-30s.

Uber, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims are among the companies in discussion with the Government about offering incentives as part of the 'Jab 18-30' drive.

So far, only two-thirds of people in that age bracket in England have received a first dose since they became eligible in June, compared with 88.4 per cent across all age groups, meaning more than three million 18-to-30-year-olds remain unjabbed. 

Football news:

Pochettino replaced Messi due to a bruised knee. Leo limped the next morning and did not train
Ter Stegen pro 1:1 with Granada: It's a shame, but a draw is a good result in such a game
Koeman pro 1:1 with Granada: Barcelona from the 2nd minute played against a team that was killing time
Ronaldo offered help to a player in Australia who was put into a coma after an attack
PSG, greetings from Balashikha. We placed your messages on billboards around the Parc des Princes field
Juventus is 10 points behind the leading Napoli after 4 rounds of Serie A
Tiago will not play for Liverpool with Norwich and Brentford due to a calf injury