A VACCINE bus is rolling into Darlington town centre to offer both first and second doses of the Covid jab.

It will be parked near the Joseph Pease statue in the town centre tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday and will be offering both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

With under 40s now only having to wait eight weeks between doses, those getting their first vaccination this week will be able to download a Covid passport via the NHS App or apply for one in time for an autumn getaway abroad.

No appointments are required and anyone over 18, who lives or works anywhere in Darlington or surrounding areas, will be able to walk-in for a jab between 10am and 5.30pm.

Penny Spring, Darlington's director of public health, said: “The Covid vaccination is our best protection against the virus and getting back to what we love most, such as festivals and holidays abroad.

“We’re really proud to welcome the pop-up vaccination bus to Darlington this week and encourage all of our residents to come forward to get their jabs. Even if you have previously turned down your invitation from the NHS, you are still eligible to attend the walk-in clinics and get the best protection available for a safer summer with your loved ones.”

The roaming unit is provided by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group.

The pop-up clinics are aimed at making it easier to access a Covid vaccine in Darlington and are for everyone who has yet to take up the offer of a vaccination, or who has had their first dose eight weeks ago or longer, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance, prior to attending a clinic.

Dr Janet Walker, medical director, NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The past 15 months have been a very difficult time but especially hard for young people who’ve not been able to do many of the things they normally do such as clubbing, festivals, holidays and meeting friends – getting a jab is the first step back to normality.

“If people don’t have their vaccinations they may not be able to ravel abroad, do certain jobs or go to places such as pubs or restaurants if owners decide to make being double jabbed a condition.

“By opening walk-in clinics we can offer even greater access for people who may have found it difficult to get an appointment and ensure that everyone who is eligible across the whole of Tees Valley can get a jab to help us to return towards a more normal way of life.”

The pop-up clinics may stay open past 5.30pm on both days if the demand requires.

More information on vaccine passports is available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/

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