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Elgin Academy pupils urge young people across Moray to get Covid vaccine

By Ewan Malcolm

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TWO Elgin Academy pupils who are getting the Covid-19 vaccine this week have encouraged their fellow classmates across Moray to do the same.

Michael (S4) and Isabella (S3) - Elgin Academy. Picture: Kirsty Craig.
Michael (S4) and Isabella (S3) - Elgin Academy. Picture: Kirsty Craig.

Michael Thomas and Isabella Turner (both 14) have taken up the offer to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Fiona Elcock Vaccination Centre this week.

Both Michael and Isabella were hesitant at first but eventually decided to accept the vaccine which has been offered to 12 to 15 year olds across Scotland.

"I didn't think I really needed it at first because I'm young and I'm healthy," Michael said.

"That's what I first thought anyway. A lot of people my age aren't badly affected if they get Covid. I realized after, that maybe it is more for the good of everybody if I go ahead and get it. It's really no different to getting my flu jab."

Isabella added: "I was maybe not totally on board with getting it at first either but I'm more thinking about other people like my family. I wouldn't like to spread it to anyone else and the vaccine reduces the chances of me getting it so that's why I'm going for it."

For most children and young people Covid-19 is a mild illness. Symptoms may last for no longer than 2 to 3 weeks. Very few children and young people with Covid-19 infection go on to have severe disease but in some people, the illness can carry on for months after infection.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the benefits from vaccination are greater than the potential known harms in this age group.

Parents and carers are being encouraged to accompany their children to appointments but the actual decision lies with the individual getting the vaccine.

"My family really didn't pressure me to get it," Michael said.

"They just made sure that I knew about all the important information. They wanted me to make the decision.

"I looked into it myself and I decided that that there wasn't much risk to myself so I'm going for it."

Isabella added: "It was the same with me. They encouraged me to look into it. I really just decided to get it because I don't want to give it to my parents or to the rest of my family if I ended up getting coronavirus. They might be more at risk of suffering badly from it than me so I thought I should do it to protect them."

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said that "informed consent" was of particular importance with this age group when deciding to get the vaccine.

Michael and Isabella agree but have encouraged their fellow students to get vaccinated once they have read the relevant information.

"People in my age group should get the vaccine," said Michael. "It's about protecting everyone and that only works if we all get it."

Isabella added: "Do your own research if you are unsure. I think everyone should go for it though.

"I want to help protect my family and that wouldn't be as sure if I didn't get it."

Drop-in clinics have been available to this age group since Monday, September 20 and appointment letters were sent out the week after.

Following the rollout last month, Mr Yousaf said: "It has been demonstrated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in this age group, and vaccination offers the best chance of protecting young people from Covid-19 and preventing further disruption to education.

"Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is a decision to be made jointly between parents or carers and their children, but it’s really important to use reliable and trusted sources such as NHS Inform when making a decision and assessing the potential benefits, risks and side effects.

"Individual choice should be respected for the decisions young people and their parents or carers make in accepting, or not accepting the vaccine offer."

More information can be found here.

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