Dozens of universities are establishing walk-in vaccine clinics to cater to the thousands of students who will be arriving for the start of the school year.
A top doctor is urging unvaccinated students to get their COVID-19 vaccinations during freshmen week in order to protect themselves and their new classmates from the virus.
“Starting university is a really exciting time,” said Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England. “Getting your COVID vaccine means you will be armed with maximum protection against the virus.”
It comes at a time when young people’s vaccination rates are lagging.
Since June 18, everyone over the age of 18 in England has been able to book their vaccine. Tehmeena Amjal, COVID-19 operations director at Oxford Health, spoke at a walk-in clinic for city students.
She said: “Over the summer it has been a bit more difficult maybe to access the vaccine.
“And what we really want to do is remind people that COVID is still around and give people a chance to get a vaccine before they really start getting into the full life of university.”
Universities UK says it has been working to combat the misinformation that has led some people to be vaccine hesitant.
According to CEO Alistair Jarmam, students have received a lot of information about why the jab is important ahead of their arrival on campus.
He went on to say that the goal is to “help people understand that it’s the right thing to do.”
From the 11th of October, students in Wales will be able to use an NHS COVID pass to prove their vaccination status in order to enter nightclubs.
Beginning October 1, students in Scotland will be required to have a COVID vaccination certificate.
In England, however, there is no legal requirement to show proof of vaccination in order to enter a nightclub or large-scale event.
Some first-year students at a London club told Sky News that they would prefer if vaccine passes were required.
“I think it would definitely make me feel better because you would know who is vaccinated and who isn’t and who you could feel more comfortable around,” one person said.
Another student, however, stated, “I don’t think vaccine passports are important because people can choose whether or not to have a vaccine and they shouldn’t be forced to do it.”
To ensure maximum protection against the virus, Hartpury University and College in Gloucester, a specialist agricultural and veterinary nursing college, has prohibited unvaccinated students from living on campus.
“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 most out of it,” Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said.