Young people from across Shropshire have joined forces to encourage others to get their COVID-19 vaccine, play their part in stopping the impact of Covid-19 and help us to return to ‘normal’ life.
Their rallying call, which is part of a major drive by NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, comes ahead of a weekend of walk-in clinics offering the jab to anyone 18 or over.
The walk-in clinics will be held across the county, with no appointments needed anyone 18 or over can just drop in and get a jab, in a bid to boost the number of people who are protected against the virus.
Among those 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, following her first vaccine, Micayla is keen to encourage other young people to take up their chance to get their first dose to help life return to normal.
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. In my opinion, it’s more about protecting those around me – I want to be able to see my grandparents safely and be able to meet up with friends. Like everyone else, I want normality back and the jab is the way to do this.”
As part of the drive to encourage young people to take up the vaccine, those with concerns are being urged to ask the questions they need answers to and to do research to allay concerns about side effects.
Julija Sumska, 20, is about to have her first vaccine and is keen to bust myths surrounding the jab.
Julija, who is originally from Latvia and now lives in Shrewsbury, said: “I’ve not been able to travel back home to see the rest of my family since the start of the pandemic and that’s been really difficult. It feels like for so long now it’s been ‘one day we’ll be able to travel’, ‘one day we’ll be able to see family’, and it seemed like so far away. But, my grandma has been double vaccinated and is actually travelling over to stay with us next week for a month, so it finally feels like we’re nearly there.
“Coming from a Russian household, there was a lot of negativity originally around the vaccine, so I think it’s brilliant to be able to part of this campaign, which is highlighting how important it is to address any misconceptions that might be stopping people taking the vaccine.
“We’re starting to see the difference it is making now and we need to keep going so we can all get back to normal.”
This weekend’s walk-in clinics come as latest figures show that more than 45% of 18 to 24-year-olds and more than 60% of 25 to 29-year-olds across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin have already had their first vaccine.
Now, it is hoped the latest campaign will help increase numbers even further.
Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Directors of Public Health, Rachel Robinson and Liz Noakes, said: “We’ve already seen a strong uptake of the vaccine among local young people to protect themselves, their family and wider community, but we’re determined to increase this further. We know that the jab is our best protection against COVID-19 and the route out of restrictions.
“We’re all desperate to get back to some sense of normality and the vaccine is our way to do this. A single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine reduces your chances of catching coronavirus and needing hospital treatment by about 75 per cent, even with the Delta variant circulating in the UK.
“And among people who had received the recommended two doses, the chances of catching and being hospitalised by coronavirus was reduced by more than 90 per cent.
“Young people understand how important it is to play their part in the fight against coronavirus and to make it even easier and more convenient for them and others to get their jab, walk-in clinics are running across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, open to anyone who is 18 or over and has not yet had their first dose – no appointment is necessary, just pop in and get the jab done!.”
For further information about walk-in clinics, opening times and eligibility, visit Covid-19 vaccination walk-in clinic times. This list will be updated regularly as more clinics are made available. Alternatively, to book a Covid-19 vaccination online use the NHS National Booking Service or call 119.