A new advertising campaign to encourage 18 to 34 year olds to get their vital COVID-19 booster jabs has launched as uptake among young people is lower than other age groups.
While more than 80% of eligible adults in England have had a booster jab, just 57% of eligible 18 to 34 year olds have been boosted.
The new campaign, running across digital and radio, highlights that being unvaccinated or not booking in for your booster jab increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
Recent data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows just how important it is to get the booster jab, with people who haven't been vaccinated being up to eight times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. The booster vaccine was shown to be 88% effective in preventing people from ending up in hospital due to Omicron two weeks after the dose is administered.
Data from the UKHSA shows over time two doses are not enough to protect people from symptomatic infection caused by Omicron. A third dose provides around 70% protection against symptomatic infection from Omicron two weeks after the booster is given.
Media medic and A&E frontline doctor, Dr Kishan Bodalia said:
As a doctor, I know that young people can often think they are invincible, but I am seeing more and more young people in hospital with COVID-19, with the vast majority of people in hospital being unvaccinated.
I want to remind people that you can still get seriously ill with the virus so it is so important to get the jab to keep ourselves, your friends and loved ones safe."
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
We can learn to live with COVID-19 if everybody gets their vaccines and booster jabs.
More than 9 in 10 eligible over-50s have already received their top-up and we're calling on young people to play their part and Get Boosted Now.
Vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness from Omicron and will help keep you and your loved ones safe."
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said:
It is vital young people come forward for their first, second or booster dose to avoid missing out on the things they love and reduce their risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.
Vaccines are the best way to protect you - but also importantly by having your jab you also protect your friends and your families as we fight this wave of Omicron.
It's fantastic that Snapchat are supporting our new campaign to encourage young people to get jabbed so we learn to live with COVID - and it's great young people are able to celebrate playing their part in this crucial national mission. To all those who have not yet come forward, please Get Boosted Now."
As part of the new advertising campaign, the government has partnered with leading social media giant Snapchat to launch a new filter to drive vaccine uptake amongst younger audiences.
The "I've been boosted" filter can be added to any photo or video on Snapchat. It celebrates those who have had their booster vaccine and anyone who sees content with the booster filter, can tap on a link to get more information about vaccines and where they can book their jab.
Stephen Collins, Senior Director of International Public Policy at Snapchat said:
With Snapchat reaching 75% of 13 to 34 year olds in the UK, we believe we can play a unique role in helping young people access accurate and trusted information.
We're delighted to continue our partnership with the UK Government to support COVID-19 vaccine take up, following a successful vaccination awareness collaboration last summer. We hope our new Snapchat vaccine booster filter will encourage our community to protect themselves and others."
The filters on Snapchat are available from 14 January, in addition to the "I've had my covid booster vaccine" stickers which will be available from the sticker tray.
The government has worked closely with the NHS to make it as easy as possible to get a vaccine, including through 'grab a jab' pop-up vaccine sites across the country such as nightclubs, football stadiums, festivals and shopping centers.
Advice and information on the benefits of vaccination have been shared at every opportunity, including through a range of partnerships with industries catering for predominantly younger audiences.
This work has included partnerships with high-profile entertainment and sports personalities on short films encouraging people to get the jab, such as film stars Jim Broadbent and Thandiwe Newton, and football figures Harry Redknapp and Chris Kamara.
Throughout the vaccination programme, the government has also partnered with dating apps, social media platforms and large companies, such as Uber and Deliveroo, on adverts and incentives to get the vaccine.