Excitement as young adults take up the vaccine in bid for normality

A mobile vaccination centre has made its latest stop to give communities a chance to get their jabs.

Emily Thompson from Bilston gives the Pfizer vaccine to Maddie Richardson
Emily Thompson from Bilston gives the Pfizer vaccine to Maddie Richardson

Adults across Bilston and the surrounding area were given the opportunity to receive AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccinations as the Wolverhampton Vaccine Bus parked up at Mecca Bingo in a trading estate near the town.

The mobile vaccine service launched last week in Phoenix Park, Blakenhall, and has helped more than 1,000 people to receive a dose of the vaccination through a partnership between Wolverhampton Council and Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.

The clinic, which runs until 6pm on Saturday, June 19, has taken on an extra dimension after the announcement that all adults aged 18 and over are now eligible to receive their first Covid-19 vaccination.

It saw a steady stream of people queuing at the outdoor clinic which, despite the steady drizzle, was busy with people arriving to get either their first or their second jab.

The centre had marquee tents set up for registration, vaccination and resting afterwards

Among those getting their first jabs was 18-year-old Maddie Richardson from Codsall, who said she was feeling nervous, but said it was for the best.

She said: "When I heard that I was eligible, I was excited because everyone can have it who is an adult, but it's nice to have that confirmation that people my age can now have it.

"We want to be able to go out and live our lives as normally as we can, so I was happy to come down here the second I found out about it.

"I think this centre is great as it's good to have something where you can just turn up and have a vaccine, as I know there are people who felt nervous about having to book in and find the place."

Aine Doherty was there to support her friend Maddie and said she thought the bus was a great idea

Maddie was joined by her friend Aine Doherty, who had already had both her vaccination jabs and was there to offer moral support to her friend.

The 18-year-old said: "I work in healthcare and had the AstraZeneca vaccine, so I think the vaccine programme is great for helping life get back to normal.

"This is a great idea because it helps people to just come down and get their vaccinations and I'm happy to be here to support Maddie."

Reece Semper and Thomas Hetherington both got their first jabs and said they were pleased to do so to get back to normal life

Among other 18-year-olds queuing to get their first jabs were Reece Semper from Bilston and Thomas Hetherington from Wood Cross.

Both men said it was worth getting the jab to help with returning back to a more normal life.

Thomas said: "I just think it's a good thing to be able to get it because it'll mean I can get into more places when we get back closer to normal.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal said she was excited to see the bus in Bilston

"It's good to see the clinics coming to places like this because it recognises smaller towns and means there isn't just focus on the big places."

Reece said: "I'm glad to be getting this and I think it's something we all need to do, as well as showing how far it's all come, so I'm excited.

"My parents told me about this clinic, so I made sure to come down and get a vaccination as it's helping to speed up the process and it's fantastic to see it in places like Bilston."

Dr Kamran Ahmed said the clinic was another way to helping people to get access to vaccinations

Dr Kam Ahmed, GP lead of the Wolverhampton Vaccine Programme, said the clinic and the bus were good examples of bringing vaccines closer to people.

He said: "We know there's a vaccine out there for everyone and we've made numerous attempts to support people through outreach clinics in care homes and community centres.

"That's why we decided to move it out to people through the bus, and this has been such an amazing set-up to turn around and it's been a success so far.

Those queuing at the centre were able to get either the Astrazeneca or Pfizer vaccinations

"There are a lot of people who have been hesitant with vaccines for a number of reasons and we're inviting households here to make it as comfortable as we can for them."

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, spoke of her excitement at the vaccine bus being at Bilston.

She said: "It gives an opportunity for those who haven't had the vaccination yet to come forward and take it and actually get to the hard to reach communities.

Maddie Richardson looks on as her Pfizer vaccination is prepared

"It's fantastic as well that we can give the vaccination to all adults now as that will help us to be able to protect more people and stop them from getting seriously ill.

"I think this bus idea is something which could definitely be rolled out across the country, as there are many communities who would respond well to this idea and get their vaccinations."

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