The vaccine rollout continues apace. So far, around 70% of people over the age of 80 have had a vaccination, although in some parts of the country, like North East Essex and Suffolk it hasn't even reached 40% yet. Some areas have now achieved 100% coverage with the first dose.
Despite this there are still some people who are declining the vaccine. Some older people are anxious it might affect them adversely by introducing a new chemical into their bodies, or that they are safe anyway because they are not going out. On the first point, if there had been adverse reactions, I think we'd have heard about them by now. 6.3 million people, most of them over 80, have now had their first dose and there have literally been no reports of adverse reactions. Also, no one, however safe they think they are, is totally safe. You may live with someone whose job brings them into contact with infected people, and then they unwittingly bring it home. I understand why people are afraid of something new and think they can just keep calm on, but it really is a bad decision. Or at least could be.
It's also surely everyone's patriotic or civic duty for us all to pull together at a time like this to do the right thing. Older generations made huge sacrifices for our country in times gone by and we are now able to protect them, but they have to be willing to protect themselves. The vaccine is the equivalent of a World War 2 air raid shelter. It can save your life.
If you are one of these people and you think it won't affect you, please, please do me a favour and think again. You won't lose face if you change your mind. It's the right thing to do.
The second group which is reluctant to take a vaccine is people who come from an ethnic minority, especially people of Afro-Caribbean heritage. Only around 25% say they will definitely get a vaccine. When I heard this I scratched my head in disbelief. Given people who are non white are far more likely to contract Covid 19 in the first place, you would think they would want to be first in the queue to get a vaccine in order to be protected against it. Apparently not. I did two hours on this subject on my radio show on Thursday with Denise Headley and it was eye-opening. Because in decades gone by, black people were used as guinea pigs in medical experiments there is an innate suspicion of any new drug among some people. I pointed out this was 2021, not 1961. This suspicion requires the government to launch a big advertising and marketing campaigned aimed at the BAME community to try to persuade people to take the vaccine and reasure them there is no problem with it. The campaign should use BAME celebrities and also BAME doctors and nurses to spread the message. And it needs to be a campaign designed to shock people into ac tion by using real footage from ICU wards, as well as carry a message designed to win hearts and minds.
Here endeth the lesson.