‘My vaccine refusal is causing tension with friends – but I don’t feel selfish’

By | July 17, 2021

As The Mirror reported this week, Covid vaccination take-up has dramatically slowed across the UK this month as fewer young people take up the offer to get their first dose. Here we ask 28-year-old Hannah why she’s chosen not to get jabbed – and how she feels about being branded ‘selfish’ as a result.

My refusal to get the Covid vaccine has led to me being verbally attacked by friends and acquaintances – but I don’t think I’m being selfish.

Ever since I’ve seen the rollout of the jab in this country, I knew I wouldn’t be getting it. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the various vaccines contain tried and tested material that’s been used for a long time, and obviously the best scientists in the world have worked on them, but in my view there’s no guarantee of not getting long-term side effects. For me, there is no certainty because there hasn’t been enough time yet to measure the outcome.

Am I selfish? It’s a hard one because yes, I probably do feel a bit selfish. I told my elderly nan to get the jab when she was first offered it, and other members of my family have also had it. But I don’t really believe in the greater good because it’s all well and good until you are one of the anomalies whose life is negatively affected. How do you think those people feel?

How do you deal with friends or family who have refused the Covid vaccine? Have you been in Hannah’s situation? Have your say in the comments below

Hannah, 28, says her hesitancy in getting the vaccine is causing ructions with her friends (picture posed by models)
Hannah, 28, says her hesitancy in getting the vaccine is causing ructions with her friends (picture posed by models) ( Getty)

I’ve worn a mask since it became law and I socially distanced after the first lockdown, but now when I meet up with people I’m more than happy to sit next to them and hug them. I’ll keep my mask on if that makes them feel more comfortable, though.

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I’m not massively concerned about coronavirus, because personally, I don’t think I’ll get that sick from it. I’m 28 and healthy, and I know my own body. But if I can do anything to help people feel more comfortable, if I can do anything in my power in that way to stop the spread, I am more than happy to abide by it. I have so many friends who are really nervous, and we’ve met up in parks and stayed distant, we’ll take tests every time we meet up and so on, so I’m more than happy to do anything that makes people feel comfortable.

Covid-19 vaccine side effects and safety

The Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

The vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:

  • Moderna vaccine
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Janssen vaccine (available later this year)

They can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

More serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are very rare.

Read more about the Covid-19 vaccines’ side effects and safety on the NHS website

But I don’t want to be forced into taking a vaccine I’m not ready for.

I’m not saying I’ll never get it – I probably will have to, to be honest, if I want to take part in normal society. But it makes me sad that if I want to go on holiday, if I want to go to events and go on, eventually I’m going to come up against something where I’m going to have to get vaccinated.

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To be clear, I’m absolutely not an anti-vaxxer. I’ve had all the normal childhood vaccines and I try to stay off social media because it can be an echo-chamber for that kind of stuff. You can see the benefit of eradicating those diseases that have been killing people for thousands of years and it’s absolutely brilliant. But I feel you should be able to have a say into what goes into your body regardless of what other people think.

Hannah, 28, says she doesn't want the jab and doesn't believe in the greater good
Hannah, 28, says she doesn’t want the jab and doesn’t believe in the greater good ( Getty Images)

I’m definitely not a conspiracy theorist at all. But when you when you read into those conspiracies, they can be very convincing. You can add any lens to an argument and make it seem true. The same goes for the pro-vax argument. And just because more people believe in that doesn’t make it true for everyone.

I’ve heard of people being removed from social media for speaking out about the vaccine, so it feels like there’s a lot of confusion going around but it can be so one-sided. People like me are being ostracised for having an alternative opinion.

Vaccination across the UK has dramatically declined with fewer people in the 20s taking up the offer of a covid jab
Vaccination across the UK has dramatically declined with fewer people in the 20s taking up the offer of a Covid jab ( PA)

And that’s not okay. What happened to freedom of speech? I’m a bit shocked by that, how can you be ostracised for taking a decision about what goes into your body? It feels like this taboo subject when you say you’re not getting jabbed, and I actually feel really unsafe at times talking about it.

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I’m not trying to convince anyone else not to get it, I really don’t want to have any influence over anyone else’s decision. But when people hear I don’t want the vaccine, I feel attacked and disrespected.

While they’ve not said it outright, people are starting to not want to be around me. And that’s not nice, because it is my body at the end of the day. I’m just asking for respectful discussion, not to be verbally abused. I know what people will think of me, but can’t we all just respect each other’s decisions?

Benefits of getting vaccinated against Covid-19

Together with measures to stop viruses spreading – like social distancing – vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from Covid-19.

If you, or someone you know is worried about taking the Covid vaccine, join the conversation, seek reliable sources and learn the facts from medical professionals.

The Covid vaccines:

  • Save lives
  • Protect the whole community
  • Have met the strictest safety standards
  • Have had a huge global effort behind them

There are no human or animal products, including egg, in any of the Covid-19 vaccine ingredient lists.

There is no evidence to suggest the Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility.

For more information, visit the British Red Cross website.

Mirror – Health