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Bristol’s Student Health Service offering vaccines to students

The University’s Student Health Service has offered first doses of vaccines to a large number of students, some of whom do not have any underlying health conditions.

By Megan Evans, News Subeditor

In the last week, the University’s Student Health Service has offered first doses of vaccines to a large number of students, some of whom do not have any underlying health conditions.

Many Bristol students have reported receiving texts from Student Health Services (SHS) since Friday, 5 March, in which they were invited to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination.

Recipients of the text were urged to ‘book ASAP as spaces are limited.’

One such student is Molly Pipe, who explains her feelings on being offered the vaccine: ‘I've obviously jumped at the chance of getting a vaccine and have booked in my jab, but part of me wonders whether I deserve to have it next when there are more vulnerable people than me who are yet to have it.

‘I've had covid and it really wasn't too bad for me, so I would prefer that more at-risk people go before me.’

Flossie Palmer, in contrast, feels her vaccination offer may have come too late: ‘I was expecting to be offered the vaccine as I am Type 1 Diabetic. […] However, I did get quite anxious because I was hearing of other Type 1 Diabetics in Bristol in my age group being offered the vaccine […] and I hadn't been offered it yet.

‘Turns out the Student Health Service were much more behind on contacting patients in Categories 5-6 for the vaccine, while other GP services had already contacted their patients. So in a way I felt worried that I was going to get missed out; I didn't feel as if the vaccine roll-out was completely efficient if I was being contacted 3-4 weeks after other students with the same health conditions just because I belonged to a different service.

‘It caused me a lot of anxiety for a couple of weeks,’ Flossie admits, as it was ‘stressful trying to find information on when I was going to get it, and why so far I had been missed.

‘When I was finally offered my vaccine last Friday I have to admit it was a massive relief.’

However, a significant number of students have expressed surprise and confusion at their offer, many claiming they do not have any underlying health conditions or vulnerabilities that would prioritise them for vaccination.

The reasons for this are unclear. One anonymous student, who phoned SHS about their vaccine, told Epigram that a staff member mentioned ‘offhandedly’ that some invitations had been sent out ‘by accident.’

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SHS have stated that they ‘have offered vaccination appointments to their at-risk groups aged 16-65, this includes anyone on the Learning Disability Register.

‘[…] No other students have been offered a vaccination at this stage if they do not have an underlying health condition listed on their medical record, are clinically vulnerable or shielding or are frontline health care workers.’

All students who receive the text message are encouraged to book an appointment. The ‘key message’ from SHS is that ‘if students are invited they should accept the vaccine invitation.’

Featured Image: whitesession / Pixabay

Have you received a text asking you to book your vaccine? Let us know!