North West England’s top doctor is urging students who are not yet vaccinated to get their COVID-19 jab in freshers’ week with dozens of universities setting up pop-up clinics and walk-in centres as the new academic year begins.
As tens of thousands of young people head off to university this week, with many recommending vaccination prior to attending courses, Dr David Levy, Regional Medical Director, is reminding soon-to-be freshers that getting the life-saving jab will give them the best possible protection against coronavirus.
In a drive to get as many young adults jabbed as possible, many universities, including University of Manchester, Liverpool John Moores University and University of Salford are setting up pop clinics in the North West.
Sites including Edge Hill University in Ormskirk have had a vaccination site on campus since earlier in the year and will continue to offer the service.
A walk-in finder on the NHS website allows students or anyone who is eligible to enter their postcode and find their nearest centre for both first and second doses, whether you’re a student or not.
Everyone aged 18 and over is also able to book an appointment through the National Booking Service, and the second dose can be given in a different location to the first as long as eight weeks have passed.
Students can easily book their second jab at a pharmacy, GP practice or vaccination centre in their new town or city.
More than 77 million doses have been delivered with more than four in five adults double vaccinated nationally.
The NHS has this week also kickstarted the booster programme with eligible groups being invited for their top up jab.
Dr David Levy, Regional Medical Director for the North West, said: “Starting university is a really exciting time and getting your Covid vaccine means you will be armed with maximum protection against the virus.
“It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm from young people with over 400,000 people aged between 18 and 24 already having their first jab.
“With many universities set to run pop-ups and walk-ins throughout the first weeks of term it has never been easier to get protected, so I urge anyone yet to be vaccinated to take up the offer as soon as possible.”
Regional Director of Commissioning (North West) and Executive Lead for the Vaccination Programme, Dr Linda Charles Ozuzu, said, “The life-saving vaccine is making the difference in our return to a more normal life thanks to the wall of defence each jab helps build – with over 5 million people already fully protected with both doses.
“I urge everyone who has not yet got the vaccine to do so as soon as possible, to not only protect yourself but also your new university community. Good luck to everyone starting University this year!”
Student Patricia O’Gorman, 19, who attended her first year of uni in Manchester last year and who had her vaccination earlier in the year, said, “Pretty much the whole first term of uni, we had to spend locked in our little rooms because there was always someone with Covid and then there were the lockdowns, so it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind!
“I’d like to emphasise how quick and easy it was to get the vaccine. It was literally done in two seconds.”
People who attended a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and will then be able to book in their second dose appointment using the National Booking System.
Freshers should also make sure they register with a GP in their new home if they have moved away for university.