Majority of Londoners want vaccinated housemates, poll finds

The majority of Londoners would want their housemates to be vaccinated, while just over half wouldn’t mind having unvaccinated guests over according to a recent poll online. 

The revelation comes after two polls were conducted by SW Londoner on NextDoor and Twitter asking Londoners about their feelings towards living with unvaccinated people.

51.2% of those polled said they would want their housemates to be vaccinated, while 26.06% of respondents said that they would prefer their housemates were vaccinated but it would not be something which would hinder their decision.

Only a minority of 22.7% surveyed said they would not need their housemates vaccinated at all.

Twickenham resident and landlady Susan Sharples has lived in the area for five years – and normally would have been filling her rooms with new tenants as soon as possible after one becomes available.

This has changed since Covid, however, with Sharples saying that after her one lodger moved out in the first lockdown, she did not place the room back on the market due to her health concerns.

Even now, nearly a year later, she is hesitant to fully commit to new people.

She said: “Since Covid I’m not really looking anymore [for lodgers] and I am spending more of my energy looking into moving to a place where I don’t need lodgers due to the Covid.”

Asked whether she she felt more comfortable having people live with her since she got double jabbed and whether having vaccinated people would ease her worries, she said she still has hesitancies.

She explained: “I’m still concerned because there is a question for double jabbed people about the level of protection it offers in terms of duration.

“Also you could still catch and pass on Covid despite having two vaccinations, so if I was to have more lodgers even having them have two vaccinations it would not reassure me particularly.”

But when asked if vaccine passports should be introduced to ensure people were vaccinated she strongly disagreed.

She said: “I absolutely do not agree with passports because do the vaccine passports really seem proportionate? 

“There are other ways to encourage vaccination that are more in line with a democracy.”

There is currently no one official way to check someone’s vaccination status – however, in a search by SW Londoner on popular room sharing site, SpareRoom, it was found that around 247 people have mentioned or declared their vaccination status in their listings and profiles, showing there is a interest in sharing this information with prospective housemates.

In a separate poll conducted, Londoners were asked about having unvaccinated guests over and, despite the response of the first poll, a majority of respondents for the second poll indicated that they wouldn’t mind having unvaccinated guests over.

Of those asked, 57% said that they would not mind having unvaccinated guests while 43% said they would be uncomfortable. 

One user responded online saying that their friends and family would always be welcome regardless, while another was uncertain how they could verify someone’s vaccination status without documentation.

Tim, a respondent from East Putney, told SW Londoner that if his friends refused to get the vaccine they would no longer be friends.

He said: “A quality that my friends must have is an understanding of evidence, science and not relying on faith / conspiracy.”

He also said that while he doesn’t believe a compulsory mandate should be made, he feels not enough is being done to encourage vaccine uptake.

One A&E doctor from south London, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed his concern about unvaccinated people being unknowingly infectious with the Delta variant and running the risk of passing the virus on to their family or friends – especially if they are meeting in large groups or enclosed spaces.

He said: “Where possible I would advise unvaccinated people to hold off on visiting vaccinated vulnerable relatives.

“If the visitor in this situation had been vaccinated then their chance of passing on the virus becomes much more reduced. Even then, no vaccination is ever 100% effective.

“If their vulnerable relative or friend is fully vaccinated, there still remains a small risk of them contracting the virus. Although the vaccine would likely mean a resulting infection would be less severe, it could still be very unpleasant for that individual though.

“Depending on their vulnerability, there is always that risk it could be enough of an insult to their system to make them very ill. However, if both parties are fully vaccinated then the risk of transmission is low.”

When asked what he would say to people hesitant to have the vaccine he responded: “The vaccine has been clinically proven to be safe and effective. Having watched countless patients say emotional final goodbyes to loved ones via FaceTime, it’s clear that the risks and consequences from contracting coronavirus are much greater than the risks of any vaccine side effects.

“If enough people receive their vaccines perhaps we could eliminate coronavirus from the UK altogether.”

On the 19th of July the UK officially begun the process of easing all Covid restrictions, but the country also saw over 700,000 people being ‘pinged’ on the NHS app in the weeks that followed – raising fears of another surge in infections.

There has been a great deal of debate over the requirements for people to be vaccinated to socialise, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘pushing’ the idea of vaccine passports being needed to enter nightclubs and large venues at the end of September.

This may come as a struggle, however, as younger people seem to have a lower uptake to the vaccination drive than the older generations with only 50.3% of 18 to 24 year olds in London having had a first dose on 2 August compared to over 70% in the 45 to 49 age group and higher in the older groups.

This lower uptake has prompted Johnson and the Government to introduce incentives by offering free Uber rides, groceries and even kebabs to encourage younger people to get the jab.

‘Kebabs for Jabs’ was the splash on the Sunday People newspaper for 1 August
Credit: Sunday People

So far London has the lowest vaccination uptake in England with only 65.9% of the population having had a first vaccine compared to a 88.6% across England and 51.4% having had both compared to 72.7%.

It remains to be seen whether the Government’s incentives will encourage an uptake in vaccinations – but, for now, visiting your friends or family without being vaccinated may not be the best idea.

Featured Image: BBC

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