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POLES APART: Covid opinions in Ayresome and Marton

POLES APART: Covid opinions in Ayresome and Marton

Sue, who lives in Ayresome ward, volunteered to support the Covid vaccine rollout, Image: Terry Blackburn/Teesside Live

Two areas of Middlesbrough are poles apart when it comes to Covid vaccine take-up.

In Ayresome ward, just 44% of people have had the first dose of the Covid vaccine, while in Marton West ward, 89% of people have received their first dose.

We decided to go out and speak to people in both areas about their views on the vaccine and ask whether they’ve had it.

In Ayresome, there were mixed opinions on the jab with some people saying that they’ve had all their jabs to others saying they’d never get it.

Sue, 66, who lives in the area, has had both of her Covid vaccines and the booster.

She said: “I have had them all, it’s quite easy to get them. I think that people should get it, I had no trouble with it afterwards and if it brings the numbers down it’s a good idea.”

Sue also volunteered in the hospital to support the vaccine rollout – she told people where to go and filled out the forms for those who forgot their glasses.

She added: “I liked it because it was something rewarding to do. They all looked relieved that they could get it. You had to sit for 15 minutes after it, this one elderly couple brought a flask and some sandwiches!”

“You’re putting everyone else at risk”

Ann-Marie Lonsdale, 38, who lives just along the street from Sue, has also had both of her vaccines and said that she will get her booster jab too as she has asthma.

She added: “I think people should be getting it, definitely, otherwise you’re putting everyone else at risk aren’t you really.”

Shameela Babak, 35, who also lives in the area, said that she had received her jab but her husband refused to get it.

She said: “He is scared. Some people have told him that you are going to get blood clots but I would advise everyone to get vaccinated to be safe.”

The NHS has said that a detailed review is being carried out after reports that an extremely rare blood clotting problem affected a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

It has advised people under 40, without other health conditions, to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

For the over 40s, or those with other health conditions, who have already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the NHS states the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risk of clotting.

“I’m not happy with the way the vaccine has been handled”


Amanda Scott and Mohamed Bousaidi who live in Ayresome ward, Image: Terry Blackburn/Teesside Live

Couple Amanda Scott, 42, and Mohamed Bousaidi, 30, who also live in Ayresome ward, are concerned about getting their second Covid jab after reading a post on an online forum that claimed it could affect their fertility treatment.

Amanda, who is a social worker, has felt a lot of pressure from her employer to get the second jab after she received her first and is worried she might lose her job if she doesn’t get it.

She added: “I am not anti-vax but we are going through fertility. So for that reason, I said to my employer I would like not to have it as we have our own personal investigations going ahead.

“For that, I have now been brought forward to a HR meeting next week. So that’s a bit of a bone of contention for me.

“I think a person should have the right to choose not to have the vaccine, but at the same time not having to lose their livelihood. For that reason, I’m not happy with the way the vaccine has been handled.”

She is worried that having the second vaccine will diminish her chances of becoming pregnant.

Mohamed also shares Amanda’s concerns and didn’t want the second jab while they were trying to conceive.

The NHS has said that there is no evidence to suggest the Covid vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant.

A couple of other people we spoke to, who wanted to remain anonymous, also didn’t want to have their jab with one saying that they didn’t trust what was in it and another said that they had Covid and were fine so didn’t see the point in the jab.

The NHS has said that the vaccines are safe and effective and offer the best protection against Covid.

“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated”

Ali Toner

Ali Toner, who lives in Marton West ward doesn't know anyone who hasn't had their Covid jab, Image: LDRS

Across in Marton West ward, not one person we spoke to was against getting the jab, which is unsurprising given that 89% of people have received their first dose.

Ali Toner, 44, who works in TV, said that she doesn’t know anyone who hasn’t had their vaccine.

She added: “I have been vaccinated and my husband and my kids have. I work all over the country, with a lot of different people and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to be.”

However, she does believe it should be up to people to decide whether they get it or not.

She added: “I suppose it’s up to them, if they want to or not. It’s not necessarily right that they don’t want it but then it’s up to them and what they want to put in their bodies.

“I don’t think anybody is being forced to do it, despite what people say, a lot of people are saying ‘I don’t want to be forced into it’. But nobody is being forced into it.”

“I think a lot of people are gullible”

Mark, 37, who also lives in Marton and has had both of his Covid vaccines, thinks it should be left to personal choice.

He added: “I think a lot of people are gullible and read social media without any facts in it. Someone can throw a ‘fact’ in and say it’s the truth. But it’s not always the truth, it’s just someone saying it.

“It doesn’t bother me if they don’t want to get it, it’s up to them, it’s their own free will. The way I see it, look after yourself.”

A woman in her fifties, who has had both jabs and her booster, said that she thought people should get it but it shouldn’t be made mandatory as that could create a bigger backlash against it.

While another woman, who also wished to remain anonymous, said that she had received both of her vaccines and the booster, and would also be happy to take the pill to treat the virus if necessary.

Recent clinical trial results found that a Pfizer pill used to treat Covid slashed the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults.

Across Middlesbrough, 72.6% of people have received their first dose of the vaccine and 65.4% have received the second dose.

This is the second-lowest rate in the North East – only Newcastle has a lower proportion of people vaccinated.


Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter

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