Sunderland student Brontë Bates fell pregnant earlier this year, but never had any doubt that being vaccinated was the right thing for her and her unborn baby.

The 29-year-old, who is about to enter the final year of her Media Culture and Communication degree at the University of Sunderland, said: “I found out I was pregnant five weeks before I was eligible for my vaccine, and some people told me I shouldn’t get it.

“After looking online, I found there had been hardly any risk factors linked with pregnant women who had the vaccine.

“After Brazil had a huge wave of infections, I watched a story about pregnant mothers who had lost their lives, and one father was completely distraught because his wife wasn’t able to get a vaccine.

“I feel lucky and privileged to able to get the vaccine and relieved I’ll be able to provide my baby with some immunity when the little one is born.”

Brontë is very close to her large family and knows first-hand the impact that Covid-19 can have on all generations.

She said: “My whole family contracted Covid. Thankfully most had the first or second vaccine.

“My grandma has been battling cancer for years now and it was terrifying not being able to see or hug her until lockdown restrictions got lifted. Working throughout the pandemic in retail and hospitality has also certainly been scary, I appreciate the work of all our frontline staff so much.”

Brontë, from South Shields, has just received her second Pfizer vaccine at her local GP surgery.

“It was so quick and the staff at my GP surgery were so good and reassuring,” she said.

“The only worries I had come from some of the scary stories in the media and misinformation on the internet. Thankfully, I had researched the case studies done across the world, and I knew that I was more likely to get a blood clot on something as common as the contraceptive pill then I was from a vaccine.

“It was a very positive experience, and I went straight to work after both doses. The only side effects I had were a sore arm which I took paracetamol for.”

Now, Brontë is looking forward returning to University, and to adding to her family in the new year.

She said: “If you feel unsure speak to medical staff. After I spoke to two nurses who are friends, and to a GP, I felt reassured about getting my vaccine.

“They can direct you to a wealth of medically certified websites. You wouldn’t ask a baker to fix your car, so don’t trust advice from anyone who isn’t medically certified.

“I feel reassured going back to university that myself and my unborn baby are protected that bit more after getting the vaccine.

“It’s a good feeling knowing you’re helping protect others.”

More than two thirds of 18 to 30-year-olds have already had their first Covid jab. Many of Covid-19 patients now in hospital are young and unvaccinated. The vaccines have saved an estimated 84,600 lives, and 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented up to August 6th this year.

Tracey McKenzie, Head of Wellbeing at the University of Sunderland, said: “Our message to students is simple – please make sure you get your vaccination.

“We – the Wellbeing team – are here to offer support and answer any questions students here at the University may have about the jab, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch

To book an appointment for a vaccination, find the nearest locations to you via or your local CCG (for Sunderland CCG click here).

Vaccine take up is lower among younger age groups. Please note that:

  • Students do not need to be registered with a GP to get the vaccine – although they are encouraged to register. Students can ask to book appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.
  • All international students in the UK are eligible to get the vaccination. They do not need to pay.

Find out more about Covid vaccinations on the NHS website.