The young stars who say let’s make having the jab go viral! Covid vaccine uptake by the under-30s is stalling… but these models are using their online presence to persuade others to join them in getting jabbed
- Cases of Covid infections are falling — but so too is the vaccine uptake
- Figures show that a third of 18- to 29-year-olds have yet to receive a first dose
- Here young role models explain to the Mail why they have had their Covid jabs
Cases of Covid infections are falling — but so too is the vaccine uptake.
A third of 18- to 29-year-olds have yet to receive a first dose, leading to fears the pandemic won’t end.
Talking exclusively to the Mail, here young role models explain why they have had their vaccine — and are using their online platforms to persuade others to follow suit.
We have to be in this together
Wheelchair ballet dancer for Ballet Cymru, Joe Powell-Main, 23.
Wheelchair ballet dancer for Ballet Cymru, Joe Powell-Main, 23, said: ‘The more people who get vaccinated the better — we have a collective responsibility’
Ballet dancers are perhaps more amenable to vaccines than others my age because we haven’t been able to do our jobs for over a year.
A rapid growth spurt at 14 left me with little muscle activity in my left leg and I’ve been dancing in a wheelchair for seven years. I had my first jab in December because, as my ballet work was put on hold, I began working as a dental receptionist.
In a patient-facing role, the Welsh health board wanted me vaccinated. I don’t love injections, but this is such an important cause. Since getting double-jabbed, I’ve become more confident. The more people who get vaccinated the better — we have a collective responsibility.
Fastest way to fun and normal
Love Island contestant and social media star Amy Hart, 28.
Instagram followers: 1.1 million
Love Island contestant and social media star Amy Hart, 28, said: ‘I’m desperate to live life more normally’
Everything about the vaccine is amazing. My first jab was in June — even friends scared of needles said it didn’t hurt — and the volunteers are so kind.
Someone said booking your jab is like joining a dating app, as everyone getting vaccinated at the same time as you is your age and from the same area — and so you’d better make sure you look nice.
Young people might be less likely to get seriously ill from Covid, but we can still be affected badly and pass it on. I’ve got to wait until August to get double jabbed. I’m desperate to live life more normally.
This will help us all get back on stage
Strictly Come Dancing star and professional dancer Amy Dowden, 30.
Instagram followers: 206,000
Strictly Come Dancing star and professional dancer Amy Dowden, 30, said: ‘I was proud not just to be protecting myself but others’
Getting my first jab in January felt like being a part of history. I was proud not just to be protecting myself but others.
I was vaccinated early because I have Crohn’s disease. As a result of my illness, I’m used to injections, unfortunately, and although I felt a bit sleepy after the first vaccine, I didn’t feel the needle at all.
Afterwards, I was criticised for getting jabbed before others my age, which was frustrating — I’d rather not have been classed as vulnerable in the first place.
Had I had to wait, I would have booked straight away, like my friends have.
Everyone should have a choice — but I know people who have suffered with long Covid and don’t know why anyone would want to go through that.
I also think we should protect the NHS. My twin sister is a midwife and I’ve seen how every department is affected. Healthcare workers are our true heroes, and if we can help them, we should.
The arts have been affected most by Covid — dancer friends of mine have been unable to perform for over a year, which is heartbreaking.
This vaccine will give school-leavers who dream of being on stage a chance. It is the key to unlocking our livelihoods. Getting jabbed gives us hope.
Even the superhealthy need it
Sports influencer and reality TV star David Birtwistle, 31.
Instagram followers: 1 million
Sports influencer and reality TV star David Birtwistle, 31, said: ‘I wanted to help get the country back to normality’
When I posted that I’d been double-jabbed last week, some asked why I needed the vaccine when I was so healthy. When I got Covid in January it was nothing worse than a cough and a headache.
My job — I own online coaching company endeavourlife.com — means having a healthy heart and lungs, which can mitigate the effects of Covid.
But I wanted to help get the country back to normality. It’s socially responsible — and if getting jabbed is the price of entry to nightclubs and festivals, it’s a price worth paying.
It’s selfish not to have one
Beauty and fashion influencer Faye Dickinson, 28.
Instagram followers: 74,900
Beauty and fashion influencer Faye Dickinson, 28, said: ‘Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but not having the vaccine (and protecting others) is selfish’
So many conspiracy theories about the vaccine circulating on social media have left young people scared.
When I posted on my Instagram story that I’d been vaccinated — encouraging others to do the same — some followers said we were being microchipped and that the vaccines had harmful side-effects.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but not having the vaccine (and protecting others) is selfish.
A gift to get us out of this mess
West End actress Georgina Castle, 28.
Instagram followers: 28,900
West End actress Georgina Castle, 28, said: ‘I also think vaccines are the gift to get us out of this mess’
The converted pharmacy where I got my second vaccine last week is next to London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre, where I was due to play one of the ugly sisters in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
It felt horribly poignant queueing outside the theatre I was trying to get back into for a performance that had just been shut down. After eight weeks of rehearsals, I was gutted Cinderella was cancelled before the opening night, after one case was identified in the cast.
Professionally, vaccination is an issue close to my heart, and essential to get our industry back on its feet.
Perhaps that’s why most of my friends in the arts want to take it. I wonder if the pressure put on young people is making others who don’t want to have it feel resentful.
Or perhaps there’s a general sense of rebellion, after so long being cooped up and many sacrifices made for an illness that poses little threat to this age group. It should be up to the individual whether they get vaccinated. But I also think vaccines are the gift to get us out of this mess.
I’ve seen those in their 20s on ventilators…
A&E doctor and TV personality Dr Emeka Okorocha, 28.
Instagram followers: 77,300 (TikTok @doctor.emeka)
A&E doctor and TV personality Dr Emeka Okorocha, 28, said: ‘It’s disappointing more of my generation aren’t coming forward to get vaccinated’
Some young people are surprised how ill they can be with Covid. As an A&E doctor in hospitals in London and the South East, I’m not.
The number of people aged 18 to 24 requiring mechanical ventilator beds in intensive care units has tripled in the past three weeks, and the Delta variant has left more young people with long Covid.
So it’s disappointing more of my generation aren’t coming forward to get vaccinated. We’ve run out of hospital beds before. It could happen again.
Several of my friends who aren’t in the medical profession have been sceptical about the vaccine. I hope I’ve helped change their minds by sharing information to my 241,000 followers on TikTok.
Getting vaccinated does not make you a sheep
Shepherdess Hannah Jackson, 28.
Instagram followers: 67,900
Shepherdess Hannah Jackson, 28, said: ‘It drives me up the wall when people don’t take up their offer of a jab’
It drives me up the wall when people don’t take up their offer of a jab. Plenty of those younger than me who have had Covid have ended up in hospital, or struggled with long Covid, and people in our farming community have lost lives.
This virus doesn’t pick and choose. Besides, you get jabbed to protect everybody, not just yourself. One problem is that it’s almost cool to do what others aren’t doing. Vaccine sceptics have said I’m ‘just a sheep’ for getting vaccinated — but I’ve got my own brain.
Besides, I work with sheep and they don’t just follow. I got my first vaccine in April because I look after my grandma, who’s classed as vulnerable. It was the quickest thing I’ve ever done. To anyone who’s scared, I’d say — don’t build it up in your head, it’s painless. I was in and out within minutes.
Now I’m double-jabbed, I feel safer. My sister is an A&E doctor and I’ve seen what she — and others in the NHS — have battled through. I’m proud people of all ages in our rural Lake District community are getting jabbed to protect our elders.
I can enjoy time with my beloved gran again
Comedian Grace Campbell, 27.
Instagram followers: 35,700
Comedian Grace Campbell, 27, said: ‘Getting the vaccine is not just about you. It’s about protecting those who cannot, because of their own circumstances, protect themselves’
There is such vitriolic debate about a vaccine that has been proven to save lives that I worry by talking positively about it, people will think I have been brainwashed by the Government — a government which I am vehemently opposed to. I got the vaccine in March for my grandma and hero, Audrey, 96, for whom I’m a primary carer.
Pre-pandemic, I would go to her house, watch Escape To The Chateau and eat digestives. I wanted to be able to do this again. I knew there were risks, in the same way that every time I eat fish, there is a risk I’ll get food poisoning. But in both cases, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
On July 13 I was struck by Covid. My symptoms were bad for a day, I felt hungover from a night out I hadn’t been on. Then it passed. I’m sure without the vaccine it could have been worse. But still I was stressed by conversations I’d have to have with anti-vax acquaintances.
I’d say: ‘Getting the vaccine is not just about you. It’s about protecting those who cannot, because of their own circumstances, protect themselves.’
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