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Sefton student with learning disabilities encourages teens to get vaccinated

Emma James-Jenkinson, a performing arts student from Sefton, made headlines with the story of her first COVID-19 vaccination earlier this year. Now after her second jab, Emma wants others to know how she made her decision to get vaccinated, encouraging others to do the same.

Emma, 18, who has Down’s syndrome had anxiety about getting her first COVID-19 vaccination but with support from North Park Health Centre in Bootle and NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), she faced her fears and used some creative methods like singing songs from her favourite musical ‘Hamilton’ to keep calm and get her first jab.

She has since returned to have her second vaccine, with further support from the team at North Park Health Centre who even gave Emma a special gift of a personalised pink tote bag to celebrate her fully vaccinated status.

Emma and her mum, Lynn James-Jenkinson believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to get protected against the disease, but they were both keen to make sure that Emma was able to make her own decision on getting vaccinated.

Lynn said: “Emma researched information about the vaccines in a way that was accessible to her, through easy read materials and informational videos, and reasonable adjustments were made to provide the support she wanted to make her choice, and to get both of her jabs.

“She made her own decision to get vaccinated and wants to encourage other teenagers, especially those with learning disabilities, to find out the facts and make the right choice for them.”

Emma said: “I spent weeks reading the information and talking to some of my friends who I trust, about getting the vaccines.

“Some of my other friends did not want to get vaccinated, but I decided that it was the best way for me to stay safe. I hope that other people like me will look at the facts and decide to get themselves protected too.

“Since getting fully vaccinated, some of my close friends tested positive for COVID-19, but I did not catch it and tested negative both times, so I feel happier knowing I am safe and protected.”

Cathy Riley, former COVID-19 site manager and practice manager at North Park Health Centre, said: “It’s great to see young people like Emma actively finding out information about the vaccines and making the decision to get protected, for themselves and for those around them.”

“It was a pleasure to help support Emma to get her jabs, our team were delighted to celebrate her fully vaccinated status with a gift that she can proudly show off to her friends at college.”


Teenagers aged 16+ are now able to get their COVID-19 vaccines at sites across Sefton.

To find a walk-in vaccination site or to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment when you are eligible, please visit the NHS website:

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Sefton, visit the CCG websites: /