Health chiefs in the county are calling on local young people to get their second Covid jab, as getting both doses of the vaccine will be vital for those wanting to enjoy nightclubs and other social activities.
Taking place at a number of sites across the area, the drop-in clinics will give everyone over the age of 16 the chance to get their first jab and those over the age of 18 the chance to get their second vaccine, allowing them the opportunity to get back to enjoying the things they love ahead of proposed nightclub entrance restrictions.
From September, the Government has stated that it will be a requirement to have had two doses of the vaccine before entering nightclubs, making it the first time proof of vaccination is needed inside the UK.
The drive by Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin NHS comes as the area is listed as one of the top areas in the Midlands for the number of people vaccinated, with 89% of adults from across the area having received at least one dose of the jab.
And, with almost 75% of under-30s having already had their first jab, health bosses are keen to maintain momentum and push forward with second doses for young people, which will give longer-lasting protection from infection.
Drop-in and pop-up clinics across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin will give 18 to 29-year-olds the chance to get the second dose of the vaccine (which should be given at least 8 weeks after the first dose) as well as first doses for 16 and 17 year olds.
Among those championing youngsters getting their jabs in time for the new rules is 23-year-old Lauren Tye, from Telford.
Lauren, who has just had her second jab, said: “It’s so important that we all understand that getting the vaccine isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s about shielding others too.
“For me, getting both jabs is my ticket to normality, whether that’s going on an isolation-free holiday or being able to meet friends and family with extra peace of mind that we’re all safer, so it’s vital that we all work together to get out of this.”
Also backing the initiative is 20-year-old Micayla Beaumont, from Telford, who battled COVID-19 in January.
She and her two siblings caught the virus before passing it on to their mother who suffers with asthma. Now, ahead of her second vaccine this week, Micayla is keen to encourage other young people to do the same.
She said: “Back in January, my sister caught COVID first, before my brother and I then developed symptoms. Obviously, we were extremely worried about passing it on to our mum who is in the vulnerable category, so we all stayed in our bedrooms, only leaving to use the bathroom. Our mum even left our meals at the door to minimise contact with us.
“However, she did eventually catch the virus from us, meaning we all had to isolate for a total of three weeks.
“For me, the symptoms were pretty bad – it is nothing like a normal cold, which is a common misconception among some young people who think they won’t be affected too much. I had zero energy and constantly felt tired, which was made worse by the fact that I couldn’t leave my bedroom to get fresh air.
“I lost my sense of taste, which was really weird as I was eating purely for fuel rather than any enjoyment. I’ve also had a blocked nose since January, which I’m assuming is a lasting symptom.
“After having COVID myself – and seeing my family suffer too – there was never any question in my mind about getting the vaccine, doses one and two. I can’t wait for us all to get back to normal and getting both vaccine doses is a step in the right direction – and a step towards a nightclub, too!”
With no need for an appointment, drop-in clinics are planned for this weekend at:
– Shrewsbury Indoor Bowls Centre – Shrewsbury Sports Village, Sundorne Road SY1 4RQ
– Woodside Pharmacy, Park Lane Community Centre, Park Lane, Telford, TF7 5QZ
– Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital – Gobowen, Oswestry SY10 7AG
– Telford Balloon Fiesta, Telford Town Park (Southwater Way near Costa), Hinkshay Road, Telford, Shropshire TF3 4EP
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We’ve seen an extremely strong response to the vaccine among local young people and we’re incredibly proud of them for playing their part in helping the country return to normal.
“However, as we all know, it’s not over yet and we need to continue to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus. We know that young people in particular have been hugely affected by the restrictions that the pandemic has brought and I think we’d all agree they deserve a great night out or two!
“That’s why we’re urging those aged 18-29 to get their second dose as soon as they can – the walk-in clinics couldn’t be simpler to use and you can fit your jab around your schedule.
“It brings us one step closer to doing the things we love and we’re confident that those living across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin will take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves and those around them.”
To find out more about local drop-in clinic dates and times, visit https://stwics.org.uk/our-priorities/covid-19-vaccination-programme/walk-in-clinic-times.