Have you had a Change of Heart?

Have you had a Change of Heart?
25 March 2022

Latest figures reveal that 23% of 18-29 year-olds in Darlington are currently unvaccinated – equivalent to around 3,534 individuals - prompting a new regional campaign to encourage take up.

Despite many restrictions being eased nationwide, Covid-19 is still circulating in local communities, putting many unvaccinated people at risk. As we learn to live alongside the virus, ensuring as many individuals as possible have their full course of vaccinations is vital to help reduce the risk of serious health issues as a result of coronavirus.

The campaign - which reassures people that it’s OK to have a change of heart about getting the Covid-19 vaccine - was commissioned by the Integrated COVID Hub North East, working with the regional vaccination programme.

A Change of Heart is based on what north easterners, aged between 18-29 years-old, say is important to them about the vaccination. It addresses their concerns and provides reassurance that it’s never too late to change your mind and get vaccinated, whether that’s your first, second or booster jab.

Neil Watson is the Chief Operating Officer for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in the North East and North Cumbria. He said; “Many people - of all ages - have legitimate worries about being vaccinated and that is normal. Whether it’s concerns about what they’ve read on social media, how the vaccine will make them feel or realising many countries won’t allow you to travel there without being vaccinated, there are many and varied reasons.

“The decision to get vaccinated is personal, but we want people to know that it's ok to have a change of heart, to change their mind. My advice is to read the information on the NHS website, to talk to your GP or pharmacist, to friends, family and colleagues you trust and when you’re ready, we’re here for you.”

Penny Spring, director of public health at the Council, said: “We would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had their vaccine or booster to pop in to one of the local clinics here in Darlington, chat to NHS staff to put their mind at ease and feel comfortable in getting vaccinated to help reduce transmission of the virus. You are not only protecting yourself against the chance of serious illness, but you are also protecting those around you and helping prevent further strains on our NHS.”

Holly aged 28, is a Lead Nurse working in Darlington. Speaking about the campaign, she said; “There are many reasons why young people my age may not yet have had the vaccine. It’s totally natural and we’re not here to judge - it’s about making an informed decision that’s right for you.

“We have lots of very nervous young people come to the vaccination hub and we’re here to answer their questions. Very few seem to regret the decision once it’s been taken. I’d encourage people to talk to others they know and trust, chat to healthcare professionals, and when the time is right, we’re here to help.”

Appointments are available for vaccines or boosters with no booking required at the following clinics.

  • Darlington Vaccination Centre, Darlington Arena, DL2 1DL – Daily between 8.30am and 7:30pm. If you’d prefer to make an  appointment you can do this at www.nhs.uk
  • Darlington Council Vaccination Bus, Darlington Market Square - Every Friday and Saturday, 9am – 5pm (Not including Saturday 26 March).

“ “We would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet had their vaccine or booster to pop in to one of the local clinics here in Darlington, chat to NHS staff to put their mind at ease and feel comfortable in getting vaccinated to help reduce transmission of the virus. You are not only protecting yourself against the chance of serious illness, but you are also protecting those around you and helping prevent further strains on our NHS.””

- Penny Spring

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