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Focussing on young people …

Thursday 05 August 2021

In the news this week we are clearly seeing a focus on young people with regards to the coronavirus vaccine.  This has been further demonstrated with this week’s announcement that all 16 and 17 year olds will now be offered a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, and parental consent is not required for this group.

There appears to be a number of drivers for this focus on younger people, not least because the take-up of the vaccine in the older age groups has been encouragingly higher. 

Apparently, 25% of people in Wales aged 18 to 39 have not had a vaccine.

Dr Keith Reid, Executive Director of Public Health at Swansea Bay University Health Board, has stated that younger people are significantly at risk from the long term effects of coronavirus if they have not been vaccinated.  “Long Covid” could affect as many as 1 in 9 people aged 17 to 24 he has said.

The most common long Covid symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle ache and difficulty concentrating, with nearly a million people in the UK thought to be affected.

Furthermore, around one in nine people aged 17-24 and one in six people aged 25-34 still report symptoms 12 weeks after testing positive.  This flies in the face of the popular myth that if young people get Covid they will not be too badly impacted.  It appears that they are less likely to die from coronavirus than the older population, but they may well suffer from long term effects that can be quite serious.

Dr Reid reports that "We're seeing really high levels of infection in under-29-year-olds in particular. That's extending down into teenagers - they're essentially driving the number of cases in the Swansea Bay region.

"The concern there is not just about the impact of infection on that group, but those individuals then taking it home.

"We know that the Delta variant is much more effective at transmitting through those household settings.  So, we're really asking young people to get a vaccination to protect themselves, but also to protect those around them.  It's really important that they do take up that offer of vaccination."

Note:  For people aged under 40 the local Health Board offers drop-in centres for vaccinations.  More information regarding times and venues is available through: 

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