Vaccinated young people across Cheshire and Merseyside are adding their voices to the ‘Spread the Facts’ campaign to show how others can play their part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
A local, independent survey conducted as part of the campaign found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of surveyed younger people in Cheshire and Merseyside agree the vaccination is necessary for a return to ‘normal’ life.
The survey also encouragingly uncovered a strong feeling that younger age groups still know they need to comply with guidelines even after having the vaccine, with 70% disagreeing that once you have the vaccine people don’t need to follow guidelines.
The ‘Spread the Facts’ initiative, which originally launched earlier this year, features young frontline health workers sharing their own personal stories and telling young people how they can play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.
As part of the latest phase of the campaign, they are being joined by young people across the region who have already stepped up to take the vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones.
One supporter is 24-year-old care worker Ellie Longman from Liverpool. After losing a family member to COVID-19 and working closely throughout the pandemic with those most affected, she is eager to share her story about how young people like her can make a difference.
She said: “I have seen, both in my job as a care assistant and through my own experience with COVID-19, exactly how important vaccinations are in helping stop the spread and serious illness due to the virus. I was able to access the vaccination in February due to my job, which involves working with people more susceptible to the harsher effects of coronavirus, and was happy to go forward for it in order to play my part in protecting the most vulnerable in my community.
“I would absolutely recommend anyone to go and get the vaccine if they are able to. I think it’s important to remember that, just because we are in the younger age bracket, it doesn’t mean we are automatically safe from the effects of virus and, after losing a family member to COVID-19, I know the immense devastation the virus can cause to families and communities. Even though I did experience some mild side effects around 24 hours after both vaccinations, they were easily manageable with pain killers, fluids and some rest, which is a lot better than the potential side effects of contracting COVID or even long COVID.
“At the end of the day, science doesn’t lie, and the figures show that vaccinations work in helping to significantly reduce serious illness and deaths due coronavirus, and ultimately getting back to enjoying life out of lockdown and without restrictions. Before the pandemic I enjoyed travelling and meeting new people, and I’m really excited to be able to do those things again.”
Adam Cureton, 24, from Prenton, who suffers with asthma, has had both vaccinations and is now keen to encourage others to get their jab.
He said: “I’ve suffered from asthma since I was a child and I know that, while I’m otherwise fit and healthy, catching COVID could severely affect me.
“So, when I was invited to take up the jab a few months ago, there wasn’t a question in my mind about whether I should do it or not. My girlfriend, who also has asthma, is a frontline worker as a trainee pharmacist, so we both feel very strongly about not only protecting ourselves, but protecting our families too. We’re all so desperate for life to get back to normal and to be able to do the things we previously took for granted – the vaccine is our way to do this and hopefully our route out of lockdowns and further restrictions.”
Since the vaccination programme was opened up to over 18 year olds, public health chiefs across the country have been amazed at the positive response and are continuing to praise younger people for stepping up in the fight against the virus.
Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool and lead Director for Communications and Marketing in Cheshire & Merseyside, added: “It is very encouraging to see the high levels of younger people already stepping up and taking the vaccine to protect themselves, as well as their family and wider community. It shows that younger people understand how instrumental they are in the fight against the virus and are prepared to take action to save lives.
“Our latest programme of activity for ‘Spread the Facts’ will continue to speak directly to young people and address any misinformation or misconceptions out there. The young NHS workers in our campaign are witnessing first-hand the big difference that the vaccine is making in the fight against COVID-19 and are extremely passionate about sharing their stories, so others can understand the real facts and reasons behind why it is so important for all of us to get vaccinated.
“We should all be incredibly proud of our younger people for stepping up to ensure we can continue on our road out of lockdown and back to normality.”
The ‘Spread the Facts’ campaign, which is a collaboration between the NHS and local councils in Cheshire and Merseyside, features young people working across the healthcare community in the local area. NHS workers, including young doctors, nurses and support workers, share their experiences of working throughout the pandemic.
The real life health care heroes impart facts and recommend simple behaviours that will cut the spread of the virus and stop the spread of misinformation among young people. www.spreadthefacts.co.uk holds the facts and signposts to other official sites for further reading.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to anyone aged 18 or over. People in Cheshire and Merseyside are also encouraged to take part in regular COVID-19 testing, and home testing kits can be ordered at: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
Those in Cheshire and Merseyside who are struggling with their mental health can visit Kind to Your Mind, which contains a variety of mental health and wellbeing resources, including online therapy and crisis phone numbers: https://www.kindtoyourmind.org.