‘Ulster thranness’ blamed for North’s vaccination outlier status

Younger people refusing to get vaccine are putting others at risk, warns GP

Dr Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association, says the lack of take-up among younger people is  an Ulster thranness, a colloquial term for stubbornness. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Dr Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association, says the lack of take-up among younger people is an Ulster thranness, a colloquial term for stubbornness. Photograph: Trevor McBride

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An “Ulster thranness” is to blame for the North becoming an outlier in Covid-19 vaccination uptake, a GP has warned.

Dr Tom Black, chairman of the British Medical Association, said younger people refusing to get vaccinated were putting others at risk both from the virus and through clogging up badly needed hospital and intensive care beds.

Two-thirds of people in hospitals in the North with Covid-19 are not vaccinated.

Because of 100 per cent vaccination rates among the over-60s, and with more than 90 per cent of people in their 50s inoculated, it means most hospitalisations were likely among the under-50s, he said.

“What we are going to see now is severe illness and harm coming to younger people because they are not vaccinated,” the Derry-based GP said. “Younger people are saying I don’t need it so I’m not getting it.”

Covid-19 was already becoming a disease “of younger people who are not vaccinated” despite the “urban myth” that the virus did not affect them, said Dr Black.

“It is an Ulster thranness,” he said, a colloquial term for stubbornness. “And it is having an impact on the health service, with hundreds of beds occupied [by Covid patients], multiple beds in intensive care occupied. That is a lot of hospital resources being used for Covid that really doesn’t need to be.”

The pressure on hospitals “stops us dealing with routine surgery and cancer patients and deprives other people of services”.

Latest figures show 61 per cent of people aged 18-29 in the North have received at least one jab, compared with 64 per cent in the 20-29 year age group in the Republic.

Some 71 per cent of those in their 30s in the North have been vaccinated, compared with 82 per cent in the Republic. For those aged in their 40s, 84 per cent are at least partially vaccinated in the North, compared with 89 per cent in the Republic.

Another five deaths linked to Covid-19 have been reported on Monday, bringing the number of notified deaths to 18 over the past three days. The total death toll since the start of the pandemic has risen to 2,199.

A further 872 people tested positive for the virus over a 24-hour period up to Monday afternoon, down from 1,072 on Sunday.

There are 311 patients with the virus in hospital, 34 of whom are in intensive care.