By Ben Kerrigan-
Over four in 10 adults in England who were originally hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine have since been vaccinated, figures from the ONS suggest.
Vaccine hesitancy has been a problem for governments like the UK, eager to accelerate uptake amid controversies about the vaccine and its potential dangers.
Those dangers are said to be minimal because vaccines are said to have undergone a rigorous testing process to pass standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
According to the findings, over half of those who remained unvaccinated said they were worried about potential side effects, said to be very rare, with no long-term complication reported, according to the Nhs.
The Office Of National Statistics released the findings of its Covid-19 Vaccine Opinions Study, after following up with 2,482 adults who had reported vaccine hesitancy when originally surveyed between 13 January and 8 August.
The mandatory requirement announcement for Health and Social Care workers to be vaccinated is likely to compel more people to become vaccinated, whilst a number insist on not being vaccinated.
Some 44% of people previously hesitant have since been jabbed, while 55% remained unvaccinated, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The Office Of National Statistics said hesitancy was highest in younger people, but this group was more likely than hesitant older adults to have since taken up an offered vaccine.
Two thirds of those now vaccinated said they had been motivated by wanting restrictions to ease and life to return to normal.
According to the findings, over half of those who remained unvaccinated said they were worried about potential side effects..
There are rreports of people who have died as a result of the vaccine, but the reasons have not been estabnlished in those minority of cases.
These are people who had declined a vaccine (25%) or who said they were unlikely (33%) or unsure (42%) about getting a jab. This period saw a decline in vaccine hesitancy, from 10% to 3% of all adults.
Uptake was highest among those who were unsure (60%) and lowest among those who had initially declined a jab (21%).
Some 46% of 18 to 29-year-olds had since been vaccinated, which the ONS said can partially be explained by a higher percentage being “undecided and open to change”.
There were lower rates of hesitancy in older people, but a smaller percentage (19%) of those aged 70 and over had since been vaccinated.
A smaller proportion of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults who had displayed hesitancy were now vaccinated (16%) compared with non-CEV adults (42%).
Among CEV adults and adults aged 70 and over who had shown hesitancy, a large proportion had declined a vaccine (68% and 62% respectively).
Fewer vaccine-hesitant disabled people had since been vaccinated compared with non-disabled adults – 34% versus 46%.
The ONS said this suggests that disabled adults were more likely to have “deep rooted concerns”.
“If we look at what has happened with social care, care homes, since that policy was announced, there was a significant fall in the equivalent number and I think we can certainly expect that here.”
Doctors, nurses, dentists and domiciliary care workers will be affected by the move, as will ancillary staff like porters and receptionists who may have contact with patients but are not involved directly in their care.
Meanwhile, the health secretary said staff would not be required to have a winter flu jab, although this remains under review.
Javid insisted the decision to move ahead with compulsory COVID vaccines for NHS staff does not mean the government was ignoring concerns about “workforce pressures” this winter.
“It’s with this in mind that we’ve chosen for the condition not to come into force until 12 weeks after parliamentary approval, allowing time for remaining colleagues to make the positive choice to protect themselves of those around them, and time for workforce planning,” he said.
“Allow me to be clear that no-one in the NHS or care that is currently unvaccinated should be scapegoated, singled out or shamed.
“That would be totally unacceptable. This is about supporting them to make a positive choice to protect vulnerable people, to protect their colleagues. And of course to protect themselves.”