The British government warned young people in the country that they will "miss out"
on clubbing and traveling if they do not get the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. The government's new inoculation campaign featuring the "Don't Miss Out" and "Get Your Shot" messages started on Aug. 6. It formed part of efforts by British ministers to increase vaccination rates in young adults.
The new campaign targeted young adults
, with a particular focus on club-goers and university students. Social media efforts focused on encouraging young adults to "get their shots" so they do not miss out. Meanwhile, officials announced that the Heaven nightclub in London will be turned into a pop-up vaccination center on Aug. 8.
The campaign also featured a question and answer film starring DJ Bodalia, who founded NHSessions and became popular with his DJ sets while in uniform. The Birmingham doctor – born Kishan Bodalia – talked about the importance of vaccination in the movie. "I want everyone to enjoy themselves as safely as possible, now that clubs and music events are back," he said.
Lohan Presencer, chairman of the Ministry of Sound nightclub, urged young adults to get vaccinated. "People just need to get … [COVID-19 vaccine doses] so we can all keep dancing together safely. Events and music industry groups, such as the Safer Sounds Partnership and Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment, also echoed Presencer's calls.
Nadhim Zahawi, the country's vaccine minister, said: "Getting both doses of a vaccine will be vital come September for students and people wanting to enjoy the country's nightlife." He called on Britons to "secure … protection and freedom for themselves" through the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "It's remarkable to see different sectors step up to help and get the country vaccinated, and my thanks go to the Ministry of Sound, Heaven and Bodalia among others. Having a vaccine is one of the most important things you will ever be asked to do." (Related: UK to start coronavirus vaccinations for teens this summer
British MPs: Pressuring young adults to get vaccinated is insane
Back in July, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that only those fully vaccinated
will be allowed to enter nightclubs and pubs starting in September. He said during a July 19 press conference: "I should serve notice now … [that] we are planning to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative [COVID-19] test will no longer be sufficient."
Despite other British ministers insisting that the policy was announced to increase vaccination rates, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps clarified that Johnson's order was "not a bluff." Nightclub owners slammed the plan, and more than 40 British Conservative (Tory) members of Parliament (MPs) vowed to oppose it. (Related: Critics slam proposal to require vaccine passports in nightclubs
Meanwhile, other Tory MPs warned that pressuring young adults to get vaccinated
is "ludicrous." They pushed back against suggestions implying that British society would be closed off to unvaccinated Britons. Their comments came as major brands promoted the idea of vaccines as a necessity for a normal life.
Dutch beer brand Heineken released an advertisement with a slogan that said: "The night belongs to the vaccinated, [it's] time to join them." Another advertisement showed popular children's characters Teletubbies holding vaccination cards. The Teletubbies advertisement came with a caption that asked if people were "ready to come out and play."
North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen called the Heineken ad as "ludicrous." The Tory MP continued: "I'm surprised [Heineken is] not making recommendations in other countries, given their level of vaccine hesitancy." Bridgen said that the Dutch brewer should "be encouraging [its European Union] neighbors who are suffering."
Former Brexit Secretary and Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis meanwhile remarked that he wanted to increase vaccine uptake among younger age groups. He said: "I would be concerned if [the British government] turned [around] and said 'you couldn't go to a nightclub if you haven't been vaccinated.' I would like to see lots of young people vaccinated but that's their call, frankly."
A spokesperson for Heineken defended the advertisement. "It is all about supporting the hospitality industry and getting back to the bars and restaurant safely so we can all be together again," they said.
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