A group of medical students from the University of Sunderland are playing their part in the UK vaccination roll-out in a bid to beat Covid-19.

On September 16, 2019, the University opened its first School of Medicine,

As well as providing the opportunity to study medicine to students with the required talent and capability, the School aims to address the region’s chronic shortage of doctors.

That first pioneering cohort of students – now in their second year – are currently using their skills to help in the national vaccination programme.

Many of the students have now been trained as junior vaccinators and, last weekend, saw them involved in offering vaccines at The Parks Sports Centre in North Tyneside, under the guidance of Professor Scott Wilkes, who heads up the University’s medical school.

Second Year medical student Laura Giles was one of those taking part.

Laura, from Sunderland, said: “I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer as a vaccinator, a role I never thought I would undertake until later in my clinical years.

“This rewarding opportunity allowed me to not only support the frontline through this pandemic, but also provided me with vital experience and skills in gaining trust with patients.

“All the patients were extremely grateful for our help and it was a privilege to support the vaccination roll out.”

The University has played a key role in supporting frontline staff throughout the pandemic, from graduating nurses heading direct into the region’s hospitals, to donating vital medical equipment to the North East’s NHS trusts.

Professor Scott Wilkes, Head of School of Medicine and Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at Sunderland, said: “I’m so impressed by the students’ commitment and desire to help in the pandemic vaccination effort.

“We have nearly 60% of our pioneer cohort, Second Year medical students, who have been trained as junior vaccinators which is a phenomenal response.

“At the weekend our four Sunderland medical students, Rebecca Bramley, Laura Giles, Zain Bahkat and Sophie Young worked alongside Newcastle medical students to deliver more than 2,400 vaccinations in North Tyneside.

“I was their supervisor on the day and extremely proud to see them put into practice their clinical skills to such great effect.”