BY the end of this week around 1,500 teens aged between 12 and 15 will have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Salisbury.

On Monday alone, the first day this cohort was invited to the City Hall large-scale site, around 350 children were given the jab.

The remainder of appointments for this week have already been booked, including boosters, as families and teenagers prepare for the winter months with additional protection from the virus.

Describing the response to the latest surge of bookings as “amazing”, Fiona Hyett, deputy director of nursing at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and vaccination centre director, said: “Vaccinating children is not straight forward, especially doing it alongside the flu [vaccinations], but they have been so brave.”

Salisbury Journal: Fiona Hyett, deputy director of nursing at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and vaccination centre directorFiona Hyett, deputy director of nursing at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and vaccination centre director

Fiona added: “They come through and prepare to be vaccinated without problem.

“Parents have wanted children to get this for a long time to keep them more safe, and it’s really exciting to be able to offer this now.”

The latest advancement in the vaccination rollout comes as Wiltshire was noted to have one of the highest Covid case rates in the UK.

In the seven days leading up to October 20, the case rate in Wiltshire was at 926.9 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 486.9 for this period, according to government figures.

“We obviously can’t fail to see that increase in rates, there are lots of factors for this, which is why it’s so important to get vaccinated,” Fiona added.

The Journal visited the City Hall vaccination clinic on Tuesday, October 26, to hear about the vaccine experience from teenagers and parents.

Here, Dylan Bevis, aged 14 said: “I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t know until Monday I was coming, but I feel really good.

“I didn’t think much of it, I just knew I needed to get it done.”

Salisbury Journal: 14-year-old Dylan Bevis after his vaccination14-year-old Dylan Bevis after his vaccination

Mother Donna said she hopes the vaccine will enable Dylan to embark on his football opportunity in Paris next year, adding: “Covid is still going around so this is going to help him in the future.”

In response to 13-year-old Charlie Orton also receiving his jab, mother Katie said: “We’re just hearing about more and more people coming down with Covid, even at Charlie’s school, so it is the right time to get this done.”

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Lewis, who received her second dose on Tuesday, said: “I’m feeling really good, everyone here is really nice and makes you feel really comfortable.

"It’s important to get our vaccinations so I’m really glad I did it.”

Salisbury Journal: Francesca Lewis, 18, receiving her second Covid-19 vaccineFrancesca Lewis, 18, receiving her second Covid-19 vaccine

Despite a slow national rollout, as of this week the Covid-19 booster is also being offered at the Malthouse Lane site.

Fiona said: “These boosters are so important to protect you from the worst effects of Covid-19 and give you that level of immunity.

“We’re really pleased the calendar’s starting to fill, national uptake has been slow and there was reflection of this, but now it is time to book the boosters.

"Please keep coming forward, even if you want to have a chat about it first, still book in and we’ll help you through it. If you can’t book in straight away just keep trying, that’s our message.”

Yesterday, October 27, the centre hit the 150,000 vaccine milestone.

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