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College Makes History With Region’s First Ever COVID Vaccine Clinic In Classroom

Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College Year 13 student Megan Hutson receives her COVID vaccination from Nurse Trisha Watson in the first ever classroom clinic to be held in the region.

Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College students have made history after taking part in the first ever classroom COVID vaccination clinic to be held in the region.

Taking the vaccine to the students to encourage more 16 and 17-year-olds to have their jabs was organised by North East Lincolnshire Council in conjunction with its partners at the region’s Clinical Commissioning Group, and was greeted with great enthusiasm by staff and students at Tollbar.

Eighteen months of COVID disruption has left students weary and disillusioned by lockdowns and many said they are hopeful that the vaccinations will lead to a better academic year.

The A Level students lined up to receive the Pfizer jabs, which were delivered by nurses from one of the Northern Lincolnshire COVID Vaccination Outreach Teams, in a Science classroom at the college. The clinic followed a question and answer session between the students and the region’s Acting Director of Public Health, Geoff Barnes. It was recorded for a podcast which will be available online.

Mr Barnes told the students that the key to unlocking people’s freedom runs side-by-side with a successful vaccination programme. “Yes, you can still fall ill with COVID if you are vaccinated but what people must and should remember is that, without the vaccination, that illness could be far, far worse, or even fatal,” he said. 

“We are pleased to see our classrooms back open again, but we must remember that to live with COVID as we must now start to do, we must all remember how to behave to minimise the risks to ourselves and those around us. If we do this then these classroom doors will remain open.”

Simon Ritchie, Head of Tollbar MAT Sixth Form, said take-up of the jabs among Tollbar students had been high and the college did not hesitate in hosting the classroom clinic.

“We are very happy to welcome the vaccine team into the college today. Students are delighted to be back in class with full-time, face-to-face learning, and anything we can do to try and prevent their education from being disrupted again due to COVID is welcome.

“The convenience of being able to have the vaccine in the college means minimum disruption to their busy A Level schedules and has won the support of many of our students. We have only been back in school just over a week so to be able to make sure that everyone here has been offered the vaccination by the end of today is amazing.”

Year 13 student Megan Hutson (17) said her injection was “fine and over in seconds.” She said she felt being able to have the jab in college was really convenient for people her age. “I know a couple of people who have tried to have it done at a walk-in clinic and then the vaccine has run out and they have been turned away. We are here in college anyway so it is much better to be able to have it here. It just makes the whole process a lot easier.”

George Kavanagh (Year 12) added: “I think this is brilliant and it is great that schools and colleges are now volunteering themselves to be temporary vaccination centres. I urge all colleges to get out there and get this organised. You have to remember that a lot more people would be dying from COVID without this vaccination. If anyone is genuinely nervous about getting the vaccine then go onto the NHS website and there is loads of information on there and it will just reassure you. My injection was over in a second and I didn’t feel a thing.”

Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College students quiz Geoff Barnes, Acting Director of Public Health for North East Lincolnshire, on COVID jabs prior to a vaccine clinic at the college.

The region’s first ever vaccine clinic to be held in a college attracted a lot of media attention. Here Tollbar MAT Sixth Form college students are filmed by ITV taking part in a Q&A with the council’s Acting Director of Public Health, Geoff Barnes, before getting their Pfizer jabs.

Students are interviewed by Radio Humberside as they line up outside the vaccine clinic at the college.

Year 12 student George Kavanagh is happy to receive his Pfizer jab from Nurse Trisha Watson. 

Students line up to have their COVID vaccinations at the region’s first ever classroom clinic which was held at Tollbar. 

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Mr N J Whittle

Head of Sixth Form

Mr S Ritchie