Vaccine hesitancy remains higher among younger people

Tracking survey shows 13% of 18-34 year-olds refusing to take the jab

Overall, 91%  of people either intend to get vaccinated or have already received the jab.Photograph: Alan Betson

Overall, 91% of people either intend to get vaccinated or have already received the jab.Photograph: Alan Betson

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Ireland’s vaccination rate may be one of the highest in Europe but there are still signs of hesitancy among younger people, the latest results in a tracker survey show.

Vaccine hesitancy stands at 13 per cent in the 18-34 age group compared with 9 per cent in the general population, according to the survey conducted by polling firm Ipsos MRBI for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IHPA).

Among that younger age group, 8 per cent said they would refuse a Covid-19 vaccine while 5 per cent said they were unsure. Across the whole population, 6 per cent said they would not get vaccinated against the disease while 3 per cent were unsure.

Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy has fallen across the population in almost a year: last October when the IPHA, the representative body for the biopharma sector, tracked public opinion on the issue, 12 per cent of people said they would not get vaccinated and 33 per cent said they were unsure.

Overall, 91 per cent of people either intend to get vaccinated or have already received the jab.

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The survey involved more than 1,000 telephone interviews with adults aged over 18 and took place during the first two weeks of September.

More than 90 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the State have been vaccinated with almost 7.2 million doses being administered since the end of last year. Covid-19 vaccines are only being administered in the State to children aged 12 and older.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he has “no issue” with the principle of children from the age of five being vaccinated as long as it is in line with public health guidance.

Pfizer and BioNTech, who produce the vaccine most administered in Ireland, said their jab was safe for use on children aged between five and 11 following clinical trials.

Public health officials, the EU drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, as well as the National Immunisation Advisory Committee must approve use of the vaccine in children under the age of 12 before it is approved for use.

“Public health will have to weigh up the benefits for the child in respect of receiving the vaccine, as opposed to the risks to the child,” said Mr Martin in New York last week.

Bernard Mallee, director of communications and advocacy at the IPHA, said “Ireland’s vaccination rate in the community is still among the highest in Europe. There should be no room for complacency though.

“It is vital that we engage with people of all ages in continuing to build trust in science and in facts, and in maximising vaccinations across the eligible population.”

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