Young people should jump at chance to get the Covid jab, says Dr Zoe

WE have reached the point in the Covid vaccine rollout where people under 50 are starting to get their invites in some areas.

The Government’s target is that all over-50s and vulnerable groups will have been offered their first jab by April 15. And then it’s full steam ahead with rollout down the age groups.

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But as younger people become eligible, it’s likely they will have different reasons for being hesitant. I’ve said it before, but being hesitant is not the same as being anti-vaccines. It’s natural to question something new. While older, vulnerable people might have found weighing up the jab easier, younger, healthier people might have different reservations.

My argument is that regardless of your age, having the Covid vaccine is a no-brainer. The risk of the vaccine is immensely lower than the risk of having Covid. But if you, like many, are weighing up the jab, let me talk you through some reasons why you should jump at the chance.

Firstly, the vaccine’s primary purpose is to save lives – it prevents severe disease and death. While the risk of dying from Covid is small for younger people, it is still a risk. We’ve seen fit people lose their life to this disease. It’s unlucky, but it can happen.

The second reason is that it doesn’t just protect you from dying or getting severely ill, it can stop you suffering long Covid. New figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that more than one million people in the UK are living with the long-term effects of the virus.

I had Covid more than a year ago, and for several days I felt pretty bad. But it was several months before I was back running and exercising and living my life as normal. And I see myself as one of the lucky ones.

Many young people with fairly mild cases of Covid are ending up suffering the long-term, debilitating effects of this disease.

Women under 50 are thought to be at greatest risk, according to a new study by scientists at Glasgow University.

They found women were twice as likely to suffer worse fatigue, and seven times more likely to experience breathlessness. And they were at higher risk of memory, mobility and communication problems.

Scientists think the reason women are at higher risk of long Covid could be down to the X chromosome. Some auto- immune conditions are more prevalent in women, and scientists think it’s down to women having two X chromosomes, while men have just one.

So while the jab protects against severe illness and death, it can also reduce risk of long-term, debilitating after-effects, like those described by Sarah Dring on this page.

The third reason for younger people to get their jab as soon as they are invited is that it reduces transmission of the virus. That means by having the vaccine you are protecting yourself, but also your family, friends and colleagues. It is also something we can all do to bring this pandemic to an end.

Over the last year some people have contributed to the pandemic effort, thanks to their job, be they NHS workers, bus drivers or supermarket staff. Millions have volunteered to help others, with tens of thousands joining The Sun’s Jabs Army.

But having the vaccine is something we can all do to help in the fight against Covid. Every jab is one step closer to this pandemic coming to an end, and our lives returning to normal.

Having the jab will help improve the social, physical, mental and emotional health of the whole country.

It will improve healthcare, and help get cancer services back on track – that’s the bigger picture. This is the opportunity we all have to take one small step forward in the global fight against Covid.

And last but not least, another reason to have the vaccine is because it is safe. When you’re weighing up the risks versus the benefits, these numbers make it clear.

It’s estimated there have been 4.3million cases of Covid in the UK since the pandemic started.

Sadly, nearly 127,000 have died. Meanwhile, more than 30million people have had their first Covid vaccinations, and there have been no deaths caused by the vaccine.

In weighing up the risk of Covid versus the vaccine, it really is a no-brainer – regardless of your age. The bottom line is that if you’re young, fit and healthy, you should still have the vaccine.

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