England’s vaccine rollout continues to stall, with European countries including France now having jabbed a higher proportion of young adults, data show.
Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reveal that England has given a first dose to 61 per cent of under-25s, compared to 68 per cent in France and 66 per cent in Ireland.
Current trends suggest Italy, Finland and Sweden will also soon move ahead of England.
Vaccine uptake amongst young adults in European countries
Data from Public Health England (PHE) show that just 69 per cent of adults under 30 have received a Covid jab, despite all adults having been eligible since mid-June.
However, in the week ending Aug 1, just 94,145 people under 30 got their first dose – the lowest figure since May 11 – accounting for only 1.1 per cent of this age group in England.
If that rate was to continue, it would take until Oct 8 for 80 per cent of England’s under-30s to have received a first dose, analysis suggests.
Experts have said 80 per cent vaccination coverage is the minimum level needed to achieve herd immunity, although there are concerns that the delta Covid variant may have elevated that number.
But with under-16s still excluded from the vaccine programme, it is imperative that as many adults as possible are vaccinated in order to squash virus transmission.
While the national figure of vaccination coverage is 69 per cent in young adults, many parts of England lag far behind, with two areas still yet to reach 50 per cent.
Just 46 per cent of under-30s in Birmingham and 48 per cent in Coventry have come forward for a Covid vaccine so far – at that pace, those cities will take 34 and 33 weeks respectively to reach the 80 per cent threshold.
Vaccine uptake by age group in England
However, the place furthest from the 80 per cent goal is Runnymede. There are almost 19,000 adults under 30 in the Surrey suburb, and just 109 got a first dose last week – 0.57 per cent. Not only is this the slowest weekly vaccination rate in England among places with less than 80 per cent coverage, it also means Runnymede is not on track to get there until late next June.
England’s vaccine drive among under-30s peaked on June 19, when 197,163 were vaccinated. That week, almost one million people were jabbed. But since then, the rate of vaccination among unprotected under-30s has plummeted from 11.4 per cent on June 20 to less than 10 per cent a week later.
On July 5, the weekly rate halved to less than five per cent, halving again on July 13. Since then, it has been steadily declining and, if the trend continues, will drop below one per cent.
On Friday, the Government launched a new advertising campaign to encourage young people to be vaccinated. The "Don’t Miss Out" and "Get Your Shot" campaign is being prominently advertised on social media.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said: "Having a vaccine is one of the most important things you will ever be asked to do – get it to protect your loved ones and to make sure you can return to creating those special moments."