Opinion: Stop worrying about your unborn children and get the vaccine

Patients queue for the jab at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

Patients queue for the jab at the Fakenham Medical Practice's vaccine centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

On Monday, it emerged that if people want to go clubbing after September they’ll need a vaccine. In other words, being jab-less could soon leave you joyless.

The night-time industry is worried about how this might be enforced, but the solution is actually pretty clear: unless exempt, all 18 to 33-year-olds should be getting their jabs.

So why have 35pc not had a single shot?

While I can’t speak for the anti-vaxxers, or the young people who think they won't be affected by the virus and don’t need immunising, I can speak for fellow young women scared the vaccine might impact their fertility.

This has been a conversation since day one of the rollout, but according to a government report dated July 2, concerns over fertility still have a role to play in vaccine hesitancy.


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As a double-jabbed woman in their 20s, I can relate. Each time I got jabbed, there were people in my ear and online telling me the consequences of the vaccine on women’s fertility were unknown, that if I really wanted kids, I wouldn’t be taking the risk.

It was as though I wasn’t a proper “woman” if my commitment to a future family wasn’t paramount in my mind.

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While I paid no notice, many people I know succumbed to these doubts.

The good news, however, is that there’s no evidence to back them up.

Yes, it’s true the vaccine hasn’t been tested on long-term fertility because, well, how can it? It was developed last year.

But it also hasn’t been tested on whether it causes spontaneous combustion, and nobody seems worried about that.

According to the researchers behind the Pfizer vaccine, for example, animal studies show no harmful effects on pregnancy or embryo and foetal development. The flu jab, which has years on the Covid-vaccine, has no impact on fertility either.

For pregnant women, there are genuine concerns, and the vaccine isn’t advised for them.

But there’s a big difference between the baby that literally shares our bloodstream, and the unfertilised egg we’ll be releasing a decade from now. Our minds like to conflate these issues, but we shouldn’t. In biological terms, your immune response and your fertility are completely unrelated.

Vaccines work by prompting your immune system to kick into action, producing antibodies and white blood cells to fight off a virus blueprint. It can’t give you the virus or alter genetic information. It can’t make you infertile.

Besides — I’ve heard kids aren’t that great anyway.

Where are all the female drivers in F1?

I’m happy for Lewis Hamilton winning his eighth grand prix title at Silverstone: he’s a powerful figurehead for aspiring black drivers. But as for the sport in general, I couldn’t feel less invested so long as women are completely absent from the starting 20.

Mercedes AMG F1's Lewis Hamilton (GBR) celebrates on the podium after winning the Turkish Grand Prix

Mercedes AMG F1's Lewis Hamilton (GBR) celebrates on the podium after winning the Turkish Grand Prix - Credit: PA

F1 is a rich white man’s world, and that makes me furious.

Women have historically competed in F1, but only a handful.

And while there’s currently some representation behind the scenes — such as a female test driver and until 2017, a female team boss — it’s been 46 years since a woman last scored points in an F1 Grand Prix.

In 2019, a free W Series was set up for female-only competitors, with the hope of eventually getting women into F1. That might seem like a step in the right direction, but segregating women from the main race only adds to the sexist conception that they aren’t cut out for the job.

I refuse to believe women can’t do anything men can do if given the chance. If someone with money backed a woman, she’d get a seat and she’d be great.

For Lewis Hamilton, there was a lack of black role models in F1 growing up. He has succeeded despite that challenge, but he is an exception.

It’s time to do something about the dearth of female visibility in the sport.

Unfortunately, given that rich white men are the ones with all the power here, it’s in their hands.

The 'Nimby' brigade needs to have a day off

As one of the millions of young people likely to spend the next decade of my life renting inordinately expensive flats each month, there’s nothing that grinds my gears quite like a NIMBY.

Unfortunately, there’s an abundance of them in Norfolk. And most of them have houses already.

On Monday, the public was told they could drop-in to Carrow Abbey on Friday and Saturday this week to give their thoughts on a 4,000 homes plan for the former Colman’s factory site in East Norwich.

Like with every other large-scale and much-needed development in Norfolk, I can already envisage locals complaining of overstretched services, noise pollution and excessive traffic.

I’m not saying these concerns aren’t valid. But if generation rent is to have any hope in the future, current homeowners need to stop objecting and let some of these proposals through.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick... tells MPs why he pushed through Westferry scheme. Picture: Aaron

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick... tells MPs why he pushed through Westferry scheme. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA - Credit: PA

Just last year, housing secretary Robert Jenrick stepped in to block plans for 1,250 homes at Anglia Square after the plans received 700 objections.

At some point, new houses need to be built and the NIMBY brigade needs to take a day off.

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