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Intention to take up a Covid-19 vaccine increases with age – ONS

Sean Elias/PA Media

By Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent

The older a person, the more likely they are to intend to take up a coronavirus vaccine, figures suggest.

Around eight in 10 people aged 16-29 (81%) said they would be very likely or fairly likely to take up an offered vaccine, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

This rose to 98% of adults aged 70 and over.

Overall, around nine in 10 (89%) respondents said they would be very likely or fairly likely to have the vaccine if offered, and around one in 20 (5%) very or fairly unlikely.

The figures also show that one in 100 people said they had declined a jab, which would be the equivalent of around half a million adults.

The ONS analysed responses from 4,492 people in Britain between January 13 and 17 as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impact of Covid-19 on society.

The survey did not include adults living in care homes or other establishments, so does not address vaccinations in these settings.

The ONS said it will examine attitudes to vaccination among different groups of the population in more detail next week.

Among adults who said they were unlikely to take the jab, the most common reason was being worried about potential long-term effects on their health (43%).

A similar proportion (42%) were worried about potential side effects, and 40% said they wanted to wait to see how well the vaccine works.

Around a quarter (26%) said they do not think it will be safe.

So far, around 4.9 million people have received at least one vaccine dose.

Before approval, the vaccines underwent a rigorous testing process to pass standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare, and no long-term complications have been reported, the NHS says.

The ONS figures suggest there has been a slight gradual increase in positive attitudes towards getting vaccinated.

In early December, 78% of adults said they would be likely or fairly likely to take up an offered jab.

With lockdowns under way, the proportion of adults who said they only left home for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs in the past seven days rose to 65% – the highest proportion since May 2020.

The proportion of adults working from home – 45% – is also the highest it has been since June.

More people now think it will take more than a year for life to return to normal – 25% compared to 22% who think this could happen within six months.

Measures of happiness are now the lowest they have been since the survey began last March, the ONS added.

The figures show that 46% of respondents said they had socialised indoors for reasons excluding work or education in the previous seven days.

At least 9% of people met up indoors with at least one person who was not in their household or support bubble.

The ONS estimates this is the equivalent of 4.9 million people in Britain.

It said the 9% could include people who have formed childcare bubbles meeting indoors.

People were asked about their largest gathering over the past week, so in addition some adults may have met in smaller groups which is not captured in the data.

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