United Kingdom

One in six parents of children under five will reject the Covid vaccine, figures suggest 

Parents of pre-school children are among the most suspicious of Covid jabs, according to official figures.

About one in six will reject a jab or have doubts, double the number among non- parents or the parents of older children.

The Office for National Statistics said suspicion of the vaccine was high among the under-30s and 16 per cent of parents of children under five were considered hesitant. 

Britons under 30 are expected to be offered inoculation by the end of July.

 About one in six parents of pre-school children will reject a coronavirus jab or have doubts, the ONS has found. (Stock image)

Officials are working to boost vaccination rates among ethnic minority groups and in poor areas but have yet to act against hesitancy among young people and parents.

The ONS report, based on large-scale surveys taken last month, also found that 44 per cent of black people were unlikely to accept the jabs or were uncertain. Among Asians, 16 per cent showed hesitancy. 

People will be sent vaccine invites by text from today, as the NHS looks to target younger age groups.

Almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over, as well as 40,000 unpaid carers, will be the first to get a text alert inviting them to book a slot as part of the latest development in the NHS vaccination programme.

The messages will include a web link, allowing people to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England. 

The ONS said 16 per cent of parents of children under five were considered hesitant. Pictured: Injections are prepared at the Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre 

The messages will include a web link, allowing people to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.

Reminders will also be sent 2-3 weeks after the original alert to encourage people to get their vaccine if they have not taken up the offer.

Officials hope the text messages, which people will receive ahead of letters in the post, could also be used to fill spare appointments quickly, minimising wastage and increasing uptake if there is surge in vaccine supplies.

People will continue to receive letters inviting them to book an appointment as well as a text alert, to ensure that people who don't have a number registered or need information in different languages or formats don't miss out.

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