“The least I could do to keep everyone safe” – returning Sunderland College students get Covid jabs at pop-up clinic
Teenagers returning to Sunderland College were able to get their Covid jabs at the onsite pop-up clinic while starting their new courses.
The walk-in service had been set up to enable students without an appointment to get either their first or second dose of the vaccine.
Last month the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced that 16 and 17 year olds would be offered Covid vaccinations. With concerns over rising rates of transmission as young people return to classrooms, many of the college’s students were keen to get their jab.
Business student Viktorija Venzulauskaite, 17, said: “Getting your jab is something which has to be done. There has been a lot on social media – which I believed at first – about the vaccine containing a microchip or causing more harm than good.
"But it’s really important to be vaccinated so we can start to return to normal. I want to travel and be able to go and see my family in Lithuania. Hopefully it will also prevent any future lockdowns and disruption to my education.
"Learning online is not the same and I really think it affected my grades last year.”
With young people less susceptible to serious illness, concerns had been raised about potential uptake. However, those students who spoke to the Echo were keen to protect vulnerable family members and the wider community.
Adam Shaddad, 18, said: “I’m proud to say I’ve got my vaccine. My mother is really high risk and so it was important to get my jab to protect her.
"I also want to visit my family in Egypt. Having a pop-up service where you don’t have to make an appointment just makes getting vaccinated easy and accessible.”
Public Services student, Libby Davies, 16, added: “I know how dangerous Covid can be as my granddad was seriously ill and ended up in hospital. I wanted to get the vaccine to protect myself and my family.
"Hopefully young people getting their vaccines will help life to return to normal.”
With the majority of restrictions having now been removed, some students were anxious about potential exposure to the virus.
Summer Milson, 17, said: “I wanted to get my vaccine as I don’t feel safe in public places, especially when people are no longer wearing masks. I felt really nervous on the bus coming into college.”
Fellow student Hannah Ross, 17, added: “Getting my jab was the least I could do to keep everyone safe.”
The importance of eligible teenagers taking up the opportunity to be vaccinated was highlighted by Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Hazel Taylor, who was giving up her day off to administer the jabs.
She said: “Young people can still become seriously ill from Covid but getting the vaccine is also about protecting everyone else.
"The more people we have vaccinated the better control we will be able to have over this virus. It’s not just a case of vaccinating the elderly and vulnerable.”
The clinic was organised by the college’s Director of Student Services, Ruth Magnus, who added: “Feedback suggested the hassle of having to make an appointment could put some students off. The pop-up clinic makes getting vaccinated as easy and accessible as possible.
"The students have been really responsive and also have the opportunity to speak with healthcare professionals over any concerns.”