UK SPORTING VENUES ARE SUPPORTING COVID VACCINATION EFFORTS
A range of sporting venues are taking part in the roll out of the UK government's COVID-19 vaccination programme. Seven have become vaccination ‘mega centres’ while others are supporting as smaller sites.
The seven newly created centres, which will be staffed by a combination of NHS workers and volunteers, will serve as regional hubs as UK authorities work to reach their target of vaccinating 14 million of the most vulnerable people in the country by next month.
The seven centres include London’s ExCel convention centre, Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium, Manchester’s Etihad Tennis Centre and Epsom Downs Racecourse. The other facilities to be used in the initial rollout are Robertson House in Stevenage, Birmingham’s Millennium Point, and the Centre for Life in Newcastle.
They are expected to be staffed with a combination of NHS staff and volunteers and will be joined by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites, taking the total to around 1,200.
NHS England has published a list of nearly 600 venues that will act as vaccination centres. They include around a dozen sports venues and a similar number of venues that host indoor music events. Among the other sports venues to be utilised are Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, Manchester Rugby Club, Totally Wicked Stadium in St. Helens, Ashington Cricket Club and Newcastle Racecourse.
Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United have also offered up their home stadiums as vaccine hubs if required, with the former already being used as a COVID-19 testing centre. Other vaccine centres could be added as the list expands, with sporting venues again being used alongside conference venues, as well as GP surgeries and pharmacies.
“Ashton Gate is proud to support the delivery of this vaccination programme," said Mark Kelly, the managing director of a stadium that plays host to soccer side Bristol City and the Bristol Bears rugby team.
"The stadium sits in the heart of the community and to be able to help in whatever way we can is a real honour. We have previously partnered with the NHS for Covid testing here at the stadium and it is perfectly set up to be able to help the NHS with this incredibly important programme.”
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