Can ewe baa-lieve it? Sheep and family fun days offered to get kids jabbed

Shaggy sheep and family fun days are being used to help support children who are being vaccinated this half-term.

As part of a push to get 12-to-15-year-olds jabbed during their break, NHS England has also set-up a skate park to entice youngsters in to clinics.

Shetland sheep – called Lashes, Cumin, Coriander, Clove and Cardamom – were at hand in a petting zoo for the youngsters who went for their Covid-19 vaccination at Epsom’s North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) on Saturday.

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Sama Ali, 14, of Tadworth, Surrey – who is scared of needles, said she had the Covid-19 jab because it would be help protect her family, including her 75-year-old grandmother.

The teenager added it would also mean she can spend time safely with her friends.

She described having the sheep around as “calming”, and added that “it was fun to stroke the animals because you do not usually get to do that sort of thing”.

Her mother Farina Ahmad said: “I am so proud of her. The sheep were a nice surprise, especially as she was nervous.”

Veronika Brosnan, 12, of Sutton, said she had “felt a bit nervous about the injection, but now I feel better after getting it”.

After later meeting the sheep, she said: “It was fun to feed the sheep and stroke them because when I am older I want to work with animals.”

All of the youngsters who attended the pop-up vaccination drive set up by GP Health Partners were accompanied by an adult.

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Catherine Frew Brown, of GP Health Partners, said: “We want the children to appreciate the experience and they may come back again without feeling anxious and fearful.

“It is very important that this age group is vaccinated because they are on their half-term holiday at the moment. They are going to be going back into school and will be mingling.

“We want them to be vaccinated so they are protected and safe while they are with members of their own family, some of whom may not yet have been vaccinated.”

More than 770,000 appointments have been made available during this cheerful drive to get the children vaccinated which began when the NHS sent invites to parents of one million kids aged between 12 and 15.

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Since the vaccination rollout was expanded to include children late last year, the NHS has delivered more than 2.1 million vaccinations to people aged 12-15, including over 1.5 million first doses.

A line-up of attractions have been laid on during the half-term as it is estimated that more than two in five 12-to-15-year-olds are yet to get vaccinated.

Balloons, face painting and activities laid will be on offer for children at the Community Center in south-east London.

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A walk-in clinic, which will be available for children seeking their first or second dose, is to open at Adrenaline Alley Skate Park in Corby from Tuesday to Sunday.

Dr Nikki Kanani, the deputy lead of the NHS vaccination programme, said: “While it is great news that more than 1.5 million children aged 12 to 15 have had their first dose, it is estimated that more than two in five children in this age group are yet to come forward for their vaccine.

“This half-term offers the perfect opportunity to get your child protected, by booking an appointment online or using one of the hundreds of walk-in sites across the country, with pop-ups this week at places like North East Surrey College of Technology .

“My 13-year-old son has now had two vaccinations and it has definitely given us both that extra dose of reassurance.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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