First we hear from Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP in London and medical director of primary care for NHS England and NHS Improvement...
Q. What would you say to someone who was thinking: “I’m young, fit and healthy, I don’t get the flu jab – so why do I need the Covid vaccine?”
A. The average age of people in intensive care is about 60, but we do have people much younger than that who have been really ill – and have died as well. Thousands more people are suffering the effects of long Covid or post-Covid syndrome after a relatively mild initial case of Covid. It’s not just about protecting you, but you helping to protect others and helping us all get back to seeing the people we love again and doing the things we love again.
Q. What would you say to people who have parents or grandparents who don’t trust the vaccine? How can we help them make an informed decision?
A. The take up among the over-60s has been really encouraging, about nine out of ten people coming forward to protect themselves, but some people still need to feel more confident. The best approach is to listen to those concerns, because they’re often very valid. They’re worried about what’s in the vaccine or what might happen to them after they’ve had it. I’d recommend the NHS UK website for advice.
We want to hug our parents and our grandparents and – quite apart from all the data that’s out there on how safe and effective the vaccines are –vaccination is our best hope of doing the things that we love sooner rather than later.
Q. There are some people who think: “If everybody else has had the vaccine, I don’t need to bother because of herd immunity.” Why is it still important to have it?
A. We all have a responsibility here. We will not get back to the life that we love unless we all play our part and protect ourselves from the virus by getting the vaccine. The vaccine is really easy to get, it is quick, and it is relatively painless.
Q. What do we know about how safe the vaccine is for children?
A. The only reason that we’re not offering it to children yet is because the manufacturers haven’t completed the trials, but they’re ongoing now. I’ve registered my two children for vaccine trials because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be safe.