Labour MP says paying young people to get COVID vaccines is 'a great idea'

A festival goer receives a COVID jab at Latitude festival. There is growing discussion about vaccine incentives in order to boost uptake among young people. (PA)
A festivalgoer receives a COVID jab at Latitude festival. There is growing discussion about incentives to boost uptake among young people. (PA)

A Labour shadow minister has said paying young people to get coronavirus vaccines is “a great idea”.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard also said it should be young people, rather than politicians, who design any incentive system for encouraging vaccinations.

The UK has overseen one of the most successful vaccine rollouts in Europe. However, as this chart demonstrates, uptake has gradually slowed down as it has been offered to younger age groups.

Daily first and second doses in the UK. (
Daily first and second doses issued in the UK. (

In England, meanwhile, government data suggests a significant proportion – about 39% – of 18 to 29-year-olds had not received a jab as of Monday. Vaccines have been available to all over-18s since 18 June.

The disparity between older and younger age groups is demonstrated by this heat map.

Vaccine uptake by age groups in England. (
Vaccine uptake by age groups in England. (

On Sunday, the government announced a partnership with businesses such as taxi app firm Uber and food delivery company Deliveroo to offer discounted rides and meals for young adults who receive a jab.

Pollard, appearing on Sky News on Wednesday, was also asked about young people getting money for receiving a jab.

He said: “Well, if it helps with the increase of rollout of the vaccine for young people, that’s a great idea.”

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Pollard said it is young people who should be the “communicators” in encouraging others to take the vaccine.

He added: “Let’s get them to design that incentive system, because then it’ll be more effective.”

Universities minister Michelle Donelan, appearing on the same programme earlier on Wednesday, tried to play down the prospect of cash for jabs.

She said. “I think the biggest incentive is to protect their own health and protect the health of their friends and their loved ones.”

However, she added the government will “keep everything on the table” in terms of incentives.

Last week, US president Joe Biden called for states and local authorities to offer $100 (£71) for people to receive a vaccine.

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COVID vaccine rollout to be extended to 16-year-olds

It comes as the government is set to extend the vaccine programme to 16- and 17-year-olds.

It would mean more than a million more teenagers will be eligible for a jab, with experts saying it could reduce transmission of the virus and limit disruption to their education.

Watch: Wednesday's politics briefing