Unvaccinated university students have been urged to get a Covid vaccine in freshers’ week in order to protect both themselves and their peers against coronavirus.
The call for students to get vaccinated comes as thousands will be arriving at university campuses across the UK over the next few weeks.
A top doctor for the NHS has called on freshers to get the vaccine at pop-up clinics and walk-in centres set up by universities before they begin their courses.
Many universities across the UK, including Liverpool Hope University and Queen Mary University in London, are setting up pop-up clinics during freshers’ week.
Hartpury University and College in Gloucester, which is a specialist agricultural and veterinary nursing college, has banned unvaccinated students from living on site.
If they have already received one jab, students are being urged to book their second vaccine at a pharmacy, GP practice or vaccination centre in their new university town or city. The second dose can be given in a different location to the first as long as eight weeks have passed.
Everyone aged 18 and over is able to book an appointment through the National Booking Service.
Last autumn, a number of universities had to move the majority of their classes online due to outbreaks of Covid-19 among students.
However, most universities will offer much more face-to-face teaching this year.
The Russell Group of leading universities said staff are preparing for most seminars, small group classes and lab work to be taught in person, but some online learning will continue.
Freshers' Week events, which usually includes parties, club nights, sports sessions and society fairs, will also go ahead at many universities this year.
'It has never been easier to get protected'
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS Englandk, said: “Starting university is a really exciting time and getting your Covid vaccine means you will be armed with maximum protection against the virus.
“It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm from young people with more than 3.4 million people aged between 18 and 24 already having their first jab.
“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.”
Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “We welcome this reminder to students from Professor Powis, which echoes messages from universities to their students that they should make every effort to get vaccinated before the start of the university year.”
“Universities will provide pop-up vaccinations clinics, vaccine buses or easy access to local walk in centres, GPs and pharmacies at the start of term to make getting fully jabbed as easy and convenient as possible.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, added: “Starting university is one of the most significant moments in the lives of millions of people every year – and having your jab could be one of the most important things you do to ensure you get the best out of it.
“The lifesaving vaccine is making the difference in our return to a more normal life thanks to the wall of defence each jab helps build – with 230,800 hospitalisations and 24 million cases prevented.
“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.”