Unvaccinated university students urged to get Covid shot in freshers’ week drive

Professor Stephen Powis has called on freshers to get the vaccine at pop-up clinics and walk-in centres. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The NHS’s leading doctor is unvaccinated university students to get a Covid-19 jab in freshers’ week to protect themselves and their peers against the virus.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, has called on freshers to get the vaccine at pop-up clinics and walk-in centres set up by universities before their courses start.

1809 NHS National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis Credit: PA

He said: “Starting university is a really exciting time and getting your Covid vaccine means you will be armed with maximum protection against the virus."

“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.”

The plea comes as thousands of students are arriving at university campuses across the UK over the next few weeks.

Many universities, including Liverpool Hope University and Queen Mary University in London, are setting up pop-up clinics during freshers’ week in a bid to get as many young adults vaccinated as possible.

Nurse Marvis Birungi prepares to give a vaccine injection in a pop-up vaccination clinic in Oxford. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

It comes after Scottish universities were previously advised to postpone freshers’ week due to the risk of coronavirus spreading during “mass activities”.

In June, a Scottish Government advisory group called for the activities to be delayed for a few weeks as they warned there would be a proportion of students arriving on campus having only had one vaccine dose.

Meanwhile, Hartpury University and College in Gloucester, a specialist agricultural and veterinary nursing college, has banned unvaccinated students from living on site to ensure maximum protection against the virus.

Nurse Marvis Birungi gives a vaccination to Oxford Brookes University student Eleanor Seddon Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, said: “I urge everyone who has not yet got the vaccine to do so as quickly as possible, to not only protect yourself but also your new university community.”

Last autumn, a number of universities were forced to move the majority of their classes online due to coronavirus outbreaks among students.

This term, students are being urged to book their second jab at a pharmacy, GP practice or vaccination centre in their new university town or city.

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