Coronavirus in Portsmouth: Queues outside pharmacy as young people arrive for vaccines
YOUNG people have been queuing outside a Portsmouth pharmacy for their first Covid vaccines eager for a ‘return to normality’.
Since government opened up bookings to 25 to 29-year-olds Lalys Pharmacy in Guildhall Walk - one of several city locations offering the vaccines - has reported appointments being ‘especially busy.’
It comes as more than one million people booked a coronavirus vaccine through the NHS website on Tuesday - a record high.
PhD student Sarah Davis from Southsea was among those getting a Pfizer jab at Lalys on Thursday.
The 26-year-old said: ‘I wanted to get my vaccine as soon as possible just so I could start getting out and doing things and not having to worry as much. It’s nice to have that level of protection. I’m most looking forward to seeing friends and family members who are more vulnerable.’
And Hilsea resident Ben Wickens, 28, said: ‘I am excited to get back to some sort of normality. I booked mine as soon as I could on Tuesday.
‘I am looking forward to being able to go on holiday and going to the pub without having to go through all the apps.’
A total of 1,082,596 first and second dose slots across England were booked in the first 24 hours of the vaccines opening up to the age group online and by phone - around 45,000 an hour on average and more than 750 every minute.
This compares to 279,678 doses being booked through the national booking service on Monday June 7.
The turnout in Portsmouth was ‘encouraging’ to the volunteers working at Lalys.
Retired doctor Chris Aps, 74, who has been administering the jabs said: ‘It is especially busy at the moment since government opened the vaccines up to younger people and they are all booking their slots. It’s been really good to see
Vaccine marshal David Burden, 74, from Emsworth, said: ‘We still need volunteers and it’s even more important now especially as we are getting the younger people through, and the queues and the waiting lists are building up again.
‘But it’s really great to see these younger people coming and taking up the vaccine.’
And Gail Rendle from Gosport added: ‘It’s incredibly encouraging to see how many young people have booked their jabs. There was a bit of a worry initially that it wouldn’t be so popular.’
As of Monday government revealed a partnership with dating apps including Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, offering vaccine-related features in an effort to encourage younger people to get jabbed.
According to the most recent data from NHS Digital, up to June 6, 11,007 people under 30 in Portsmouth had a first dose and 6,343 had a second.
Overall 117,301 people in Portsmouth have received a first dose, and 80,977 had both.