The Forgotten Covid Jab That Might Have NO Side Effects On Kids

Sabrina Daley, 40, stands outside New Tings, the Brixton Caribbean restaurant where she works as a chef, listing the reasons she’s not bothered about having the Covid jab. “I’m not saying never, but I don’t rave and I haven’t left the UK in 20 years, so to me, having a vaccine passport doesn’t make a difference,” she says.

The Jamaican-born mother-of-four had Covid, “terribly”, in November (“the only place I didn’t have pain was my hair”) and lost close friends to the virus at the start of the pandemic, but she doesn’t regret not having the vaccine. Despite having an appointment booked two days before catching Covid, and widely-publicised figures showing that nine in ten ICU patients are unvaccinated, she chose not to go. “I’ve heard of people who’ve taken the vaccine and still got sick with Covid...” she says. “So what’s the point?”

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It’s been four weeks since the street where Daley works, Acre Lane, recorded the highest coronavirus rate in the country, with one in ten residents recording positive cases during the second week of last month – six times the UK average. At the time, health experts put much of this figure down to the area’s low vaccination rate, with 34.2 per cent of residents in the area not having had the jab, putting it in the bottom 15 council areas in the country for vaccine uptake, alongside the likes of Westminster where four in ten residents are completely unvaccinated.

Their views are wide-ranging, from account manager Alice Read, 24, who’s had the jab herself (”for my grandparents”) but knows young creatives in their twenties who’ve refused it because “they don’t want to be told what to do”, to new mother Amelia Williams, 33, whose best friend hasn’t been vaccinated because of concerns around the side effects.

Daley and her friends might not be worried about low vaccination rates in the area, but on the other side of the river in Westminster, concern is building. This week the government indicated plans to scrap Plan B rules as soon as this month - but will the city’s low vaccination levels get in the way of their planned return to ‘normal’? Already, unvaccinated members of the public are becoming a major problem across the NHS, with recent data from the UK Health Security Agency showing that people who have not been vaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised with the virus, adding extra pressure on hospitals that are already close to breaking-point.

Chef Sabrina Daley, 40, says vaccine passports don’t make a difference to her as she doesn’t travel or go clubbing >" height="3280" width="4928" srcset="https://static.standard.co.uk/2022/01/17/16/SPL%20BRIXTON%20VACCINE%20VOXPOP%2008.JPG?width=320&auto=webp&quality=50&crop=4928%3A3280%2Csmart 320w, https://static.standard.co.uk/2022/01/17/16/SPL%20BRIXTON%20VACCINE%20VOXPOP%2008.JPG?width=640&auto=webp&quality=50&crop=4928%3A3280%2Csmart 640w" layout="responsive" i-amphtml-layout="responsive">

Chef Sabrina Daley, 40, says vaccine passports don’t make a difference to her as she doesn’t travel or go clubbing

/ Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd

Chris Whitty recently said he was “saddened” by the proportion of unvaccinated Covid patients in intensive care (roughly nine in ten) and Dr Steve Mowle, a GP running a vaccine clinic in the Acre Lane area, has called the misinformation that leads to these figures “frustrating”, with those as young as 30 often left fighting for their lives. “We’ve heard tragic stories from those working on the frontline that intensive care units are full of patients who wish they could go back in time and get vaccinated, but that it’s sadly too late,” health secretary Sajid Javid said earlier this month.

The implications are being seen outside of the NHS. With many industries asking their employees to be vaccinated before coming to work, low vaccination rates are leading to staff shortages across sectors from social care to transport, with many leaders calling for greater pressure to be put on unvaccinated people so society can return to something closer to normality. “I really want to piss them off,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a (now heavily-criticised) statement about unvaccinated people earlier this month.

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