"It's absolutely essential": UCLan hosts Covid-19 vaccination pop up site for students
With teaching beginning at the university this week, a Covid vaccination bus set up shop at UCLan yesterday.
Yesterday, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) hosted a Covid-19 vaccination pop-up site on its main Preston campus for staff and students.
Parked on the campus between 9 am and 4 pm, the vaccination bus was open for both UCLan students and staff to get their first, second or booster jabs.
Jeremy Hann, a GP at Preston Park View surgery, and Clinical Director for Greater Preston Network, the group administering the vaccines on the bus, said: "We've had quite a few students come down, a lot of people have actually had the vaccine already but there are a few who haven’t, because they were a bit nervous before but have just decided to go for it today.
"It's the start of term so students are going to go out and some of them are worried that they’ll need evidence of a vaccine for concerts and nightclubs, so that's a spur, but also the university are offering a free coffee for people who come as well!"
Helen-Marie Kirby, a first year paramedic science student from Preston, who went along for her booster jab, said: “I’ve lost three members of my family to covid, so I’m definitely having my injections. It’s fantastic that it’s on campus because otherwise I would have had to wait for my doctor to get in touch, because I’m young so they wouldn’t have put me forward yet."
Another first year UCLan student from Preston, Cairo Henry, who is studying policing, said: “I’ve come to get my first vaccine, I just wanted to get it over and done with it so I can go out and about, and it’s really handy that it’s on campus. I wasn’t expecting to get it today but I did because it was here, and it really wasn’t a hassle, I feel like everyone should get the vaccine just to make it safer for everyone.”
The covid-19 vaccination bus had been offered to UCLan by Lancashire County Council, and explaining why they said yes, Peter Hill, the Lead Safety, Health & Environment Adviser at UCLan said: "Our role is to ensure the safety of our staff and students so the bus was seen as vital.
"If we can give our students the chance of a vaccination, when they might have not have had one at home, they may have struggled in the local community to get their vaccine, then it's absolutely essential."
Earlier in the week the Covid vaccination pop up bus visited UCLan's Burnley Campus on October 5 and at Edge Hill University's campus on October 6, whilst a number of university sites in the North West also hosted pop-up sites last week, during fresher’s.
According to government figures released on September 30, more than 60% of 18-24 year olds have been vaccinated so far.
Explaining why the pop up bus was sent to universities, Jane Scattergood, the director of the vaccination programme for Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “University students are mostly young adults and they had to wait to the very end of the first roll out of the vaccination programme to get their jabs, which was when lockdown was releasing so students may have been too busy socializing to get the vaccine, or they were worried that side effects could compromise performance in exams, or they missed their second because they moved between their term time address and home, so we wanted to make a really convenient offer to them so that when they arrive back to campus, they could come and get their jabs really easily, as part of university life.
"Some of the university’s also have a big inbound cohort of international students, and some of those students will have had vaccines that are not approved in the UK so we wanted to give them the opportunity to take up a UK approved vaccine when they arrived with us just to make everyone safer.
"University students are living together, socialising together, in lecture rooms and libraries together, and that lifestyle really enables transmission if any of those students carry the infection, so the sooner they can get protection, if they’ve missed out for any reason, then the safer it is for everyone."
Jane, who is also the Director of Nursing and Quality for Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS, added: "I want to thank the universities for their cooperation, they’ve been really supportive of the vaccination programme, sharing our messages, and they've really pulled together to get the university experience back to normal and keep everyone safe, so thanks to them and to the students who have come forward."