Health chiefs' covid vaccine plea to young people in Sunderland

Health chiefs have urged young people on Wearside to take up a vaccine when offered – even if they have already recovered from Covid-19.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 6:14 pm
A drop in vaccine clinic for students and over 18s.

The comments came during a vaccination programme update to the Governing Body of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Tuesday, July 27.

According to figures presented to NHS leaders, around 351,000 total vaccine doses have been given in Sunderland, of which 193,707 are first doses and 157,371 second doses.

Around 84% of the total eligible adult population have now been vaccinated with a first dose however the same rate for both doses remains at 68.1% – with health chiefs pushing for higher uptake.

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Dr Fadi Khalil, Clinical Vice-Chair of Sunderland CCG, noted there was a “faltering uptake” in those aged 30 and under.

At the meeting, which was held via videolink and livestreamed on Facebook, Dr Khalil directed a message directly to young people in response to messages circulating on social media about the vaccine.

He explained: “One of the messages we’re getting on social media because the numbers have been so high, a lot of the younger population are saying that they don’t need a vaccine because they have had Covid.

“That’s obviously wrong, I have had Covid twice and I still had my vaccine, we have had people who are in hospital, young people, who haven’t been vaccinated.

“One of the staff members I worked with, her daughter is currently in intensive care, I think she is in her mid-20s, and she shared it on social media how she is fighting for her life now.

“So yes the risk benefit is different but nobody is immune, there’s a lot of people out there who are vulnerable.

“So if people are hesitant, speak to your GP or a clinical member of staff and they will be able to advise you, but please come forward if you have got queries.”

Gerry Taylor, director of public health for Sunderland City Council, said there had been “exceedingly high rates” of Covid in young people.

She suggested this may have had an impact on vaccine uptake, with some young people unable to come forward due to testing positive or going into self-isolation.

The public health boss added it was important to place services in the right places, to focus on areas where lower uptake is recorded and to continue with walk-in clinics and social media messaging.

In the meantime, Dr Ian Pattison, Clinical Chair of Sunderland CCG, encouraged city residents to get the jab.

He added: “I think it’s important that we have the chance to discuss the vaccine programme because it’s so important and we just need to make sure that everyone who is entitled gets a vaccine.

“We have heard of the excellent work that the vaccine programme is doing, getting around centres and mobile centres getting opened up, and really we just need to make sure that people utilise them.

“I also take on board the key message, if you haven’t been able to get your vaccine because actually you have had Covid, once you’re four weeks post-Covid you can book in and get your vaccine.

“And we would recommend that you still do that, particularly if you’re a young person.”

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