I was a Covid-19 vaccine sceptic but now I want a booster jab - GP Taylor

IT is sad that we are living in a divided nation of those who have had the Covid vaccination and those who have not.

Covid-19 vaccinations under way. Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images.
Covid-19 vaccinations under way. Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images.

Even the team of Strictly Come Dancing have had the problem of dancers not wanting to have the jab. For me, it was a no-brainer.

The vaccine was an essential part of trying to have some kind of normal life and of course being protected by a virus that kills people like me very quickly. In fact, I cannot wait for my booster, it cannot come soon enough.

Even though I love a good conspiracy theory, I really cannot believe any of the theories that are circulating on the internet.

I do not think for an instance that Bill Gates is using it to microchip us all or that it is some world order conspiracy to reduce the population of the world in the next five years. The only thing I will agree with is that this virus is probably man-made and escaped from a lab. In 50 years, we may find out the truth.

What is important is that every one of us plays their part in stopping the spread of the disease, especially as winter approaches and the new school term is underway. Like it or not, schools do seem to be a great place to spread the virus. After all, Covid loves a crowd.

I am perplexed why it has taken so long for the government to bring the vaccination of children into being. Surely, they must have realised that young people played a part in spreading Covid. I could never understand why the scientists didn’t at first grasp that. The mantra that children were not badly affected wore thin very quickly.

Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, says that data shows that children and adolescents play a significant part in coronavirus transmission.

Bennett went on to say that it’s possible that more transmissible variants will develop a way to push through whatever it is in a young person’s immune response that makes them more resistant to infection.

Around the world, children are getting sick. Some medical studies say that between 14 and 50 per cent of infected children develop long Covid. That in itself is a totally unacceptable figure.

It is only right that children and young people are protected.

Evidence suggests that a single vaccine dose cuts the risk of catching the Delta variant by about 55 per cent and reduces the chances of getting very sick or spreading it to someone else.

Before they start school, many children will have had numerous vaccinations to ward off severe diseases. This vaccine may just help to slow down the pandemic so that the NHS isn’t overwhelmed this winter.

Infections and deaths are higher now than this time last year, and with no real restrictions in place it is likely to spread quickly. Members of my own family who were double vaxxed contracted the virus in the summer and they had been very careful.

The NHS says that children under 16 can consent “if they’re believed to have enough intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what’s involved in their treatment”.

It is only right that children should be able to make up their own minds whether to have to vaccine or not. The Gillick competence has been in place for many years and allows in law for young people to make their own choices in regard to medical treatment. Even though I struggle with the removal of the rights of parents, I feel the situation is so serious that the child should decide for themselves if they have anti-vaxxer parents. The law is very clear, children have the right to self-determine their health care under certain circumstances without parental consent.

The difficulty of living in a free and open society is that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to have the jab. When first announced, I was a vaccine sceptic, wondering if it would work and what the side effects would be. The longer the pandemic continued, the more I realised that I would have to forego my reservations and have the jab.

In my daily life, I am still social distancing and taking care, but the vaccine gives me reassurance that should I get the virus, I have a good chance of surviving. Everyone in society, young and old has the right to the same hope. The more people who are protected, the less damage and death the virus will cause. It is incumbent on us all to do the right thing.

Parents have to take a responsible attitude to allow their children to be jabbed. This is a once in a century pandemic and the sooner it comes to an end, the better. The only way we can return to normal life is if we all take this seriously.

- GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster. He lives in East Yorkshire.