Young people in Leeds urged to 'grab a jab' ahead of return to schools, colleges and universities

Young people in Leeds are being urged to 'grab a jab' ahead of their return to the city's schools, colleges and universities.

By Abbey Maclure
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:45 am

Invitations for the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine were rolled out to 16 and 17-year-olds last month, after The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) updated its guidance.

The NHS in Leeds is working to vaccinate as many people in the age bracket as possible before pupils head back to the classroom, hoping to reduce the effect of the 'pingdemic' and avoid disruption to education.

And as the city's universities prepare for the new term, they are actively encouraging all students to get vaccinated before they get back on campus.

Singer-songwriter Declan McKenna, 22, took advantage of the on-site Covid vaccination facilities after performing at Leeds Festival (Photo: Mark Bickerdike photography)

It comes as new figures show one in four 18 to 29-year-olds in the UK are still yet to receive their first dose.

Leeds Rhinos Academy player Will Gatus got his first dose last month and wants to encourage other young people to get jabbed.

The 17-year-old said: “I’m glad I’ve been able to get the vaccine as it helps protect my family and friends and also reduces the need to isolate.

"The jab was very quick and painless and only took 30 minutes out of my day.”

Leeds Rhinos Academy player Will Gatus, 17, is encouraging other young people to get jabbed

Dr Jason Broch, a GP in Leeds and clinical chair for the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), warned that Covid and Long Covid can affect people of all ages as he urged young people not to "gamble with their health".

Walk-in clinics across Leeds are offering jabs without the need for an appointment, including a pop-up clinic at Trinity Leeds shopping centre this weekend.

Dr Broch added: “I’m encouraging all young people to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

"Covid and Long Covid can affect anyone regardless of their age so it is not worth gambling with your health or risking losing the freedoms that the success of the vaccination programme so far has made possible.

“Lots of young people will be starting and returning to sixth forms, colleges and universities next week and getting the vaccine will also help to prevent the spread of the virus so that they can hopefully avoid any disruption to their education and make the most of the experience."

The University of Leeds is preparing to teach tens of thousands of students in the upcoming term, with enhanced cleaning measures and improved ventilation in place on campus - as well the use of face masks in some settings.

It has urged its new and returning students to get jabbed before the start of the semester.

A spokesperson for the University said: “Throughout the pandemic, the health and wellbeing of our students and staff has remained our top priority.

“We are actively encouraging all students to get vaccinated before the semester starts. In line with NHS advice, students registered with a GP should use the National Booking Service to book an appointment at a vaccination centre, local pharmacy-run site or GP."

This was echoed by Leeds Trinity University, which will continue to implement a range of Covid-safety measures including enhanced cleaning regimes and reminders about regular hand-washing and use of sanitiser.

It has appointed a dedicated team to look after students who need to isolate and it will provide lateral flow tests to its students and staff to encourage them to maintain twice-weekly testing.

A Leeds Trinity spokesperson added: “We encourage students to take up the vaccine and continue the approach that we have maintained throughout the pandemic, putting the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and the local community first.”

Visit the Leeds CCG website for information on all the city's walk-in vaccine clinics.