Around 30% of 18 to 29-year-olds and 20% of 30 to 39-year-olds in Scotland have not had a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine despite every adult being offered a first appointment, figures show.
Data from Public Health Scotland (PHS) shows just under a third (32.1%) of adults in their 30s have been double-jabbed, with the figure for 18 to 29-year-olds at 20.5%.
Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservatives’ Covid recovery spokesman, said the country is “not making progress fast enough” and “a much more aggressive targeted social media campaign” advertising jags for younger people is required.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “If we’re going to defeat this virus we need to get the population vaccinated and 18 to 29-year-olds are the key group now.
“What we’ve seen is quite an alarming decline in the numbers being vaccinated.
“On Monday the daily first doses of the vaccine hit a three-month low, only 2,483 people were vaccinated with a first dose on Monday, so we are really struggling to meet this key group.”
The previous Monday – July 12 – saw 7,163 first doses administered.
Mr Fraser said requiring a vaccine passport or proof of a negative test to attend large-scale events like nightclubs or concerts is a “reasonable proposition”, adding: “I think that is a reasonable trade-off for people.”
However, interim Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alistair Carmichael earlier told the programme that a vaccine passport scheme is “probably one of the most pointless and divisive exercises you can imagine”.
He said: “They will leave behind those who are not vaccinated for good reason or otherwise.
“If you have got everyone vaccinated then, frankly, you wonder whether it would be worth the expense and hassle.
“To threaten people in order to get the vaccine I think is the wrong approach altogether and I think it would be massively divisive.”
Last week, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Government is doing “everything we can” to encourage uptake of the coronavirus vaccine among younger Scots.
Asked about the rates of younger Scots coming forward, he told the PA news agency: “There’s no doubt it’s concerning, that’s why we’re doing everything we can.
“Drop-ins, mobile vaccination, going to where young people are such as shopping centres and football clubs.
“We’re flooding social media. But there’s not one silver bullet, we’re going to have to keep doing as much of this as we possibly can.”
PHS figures show 69.6% of 18 to 29-year-olds have had a first jab, while 80.8% of people in their 30s have had one.
The figure for first doses for people in their 40s is 89.6%, while the proportion of that age group which is double-jabbed is 68.9%.
Overall, 3,984,433 adults in Scotland has had their first dose, equivalent to 89.3% of all over-18s, PHS figures published on Tuesday show.
Some 2,995,086 people have had both doses, covering 67.3% of adults in the country.
The figures include a small number of 16- and 17-year-olds in specific priority groups, PHS added.