Around one in seven older teenagers in Britain would be hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine, new figures suggest.
Some 14% of 16-17-year-olds reported vaccine hesitancy when surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between May and June.
The UK’s vaccination programme is currently only open to adults aged 18 and over, and some children in exceptional circumstances, with experts divided on whether children should be jabbed.
The ONS also found that 9% of 18-21-year-olds and 10% of 22-25 year-olds reported hesitancy.
Vaccine hesitancy is defined as people who have refused a vaccine, say they would be unlikely to get a vaccine when offered, and those who responded “neither likely nor unlikely”, “don’t know” or “prefer not to say” when asked.
The survey was carried out between May 26 and June 20 and covered 16,180 participants aged 16 and over.
Across all people surveyed, the ONS found the vast majority (96%) reported positive sentiment towards a Covid-19 vaccine, while 4% reported vaccine hesitancy.
This is up from 78% who reported positive sentiment at the start of the vaccine rollout, when surveyed between December 10 and 13.
Overall, 93% of 16-29-year-olds reported positive vaccine sentiment in the latest survey – the highest proportion since the vaccination programme began.
There continue to be sharp differences in rates of hesitancy among different ethnic and religious groups, however.
Some 18% of black or black British adults reported vaccine hesitancy, compared with 11% for adults of mixed background, 4% for white adults and 3% for Asian or Asian British adults.
Around one in seven adults (15%) identifying as Muslim showed hesitancy, compared with 9% of people identifying as Hindu and 3% of the Christian group.
Adults in the most deprived parts of England were more likely to report hesitancy than those living in the least deprived areas (8% and 3% respectively).
There was also a higher rate of hesitancy in London (7%) and the south-west (6%) than other regions of England.