COVID-19: Pop-up vaccine clinics open at shops, parks, and stadiums this weekend

·5-min read

Pop-up clinics will be offering coronavirus jabs this weekend as part of a major drive to get more people vaccinated, so those enjoying the sunshine by going shopping or visiting the park will be able to get one on the go.

Some clothing stores, sports venues and parks will be hosting vaccination centres as part of an effort to get as many Britons jabbed as possible before restrictions in England lift on Monday.

NHS England said shoppers at Primark in Broadmead Shopping Centre in Bristol and at the Trinity retail centre in Leeds will be able to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Amid what's been described as a mini-heatwave this weekend, sunseekers enjoying the warm weather will also be able to grab a jab at Greenwich Park in London and Liverpool's Sefton Park.

Elsewhere, a GP-led clinic dubbed the "vaccine caddies" at the British Open golfing championship in Sandwich, Kent, will be offering a dose to eligible golfers, caddies, staff, and the 30,000 spectators expected daily.

And NHS staff, volunteers and the public will be able to grab a jab at the Oval cricket ground.

It comes after Friday evening saw members of the public able to enjoy a DJ spinning tunes while waiting for their vaccine at the Tate Modern art gallery on London's Bankside.

Urging people to come forward, NHS England's medical director for primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani, said: "You can pop into Primark, enjoy the sun in the park, and explore the art at the Tate, while also protecting yourself and your loved ones by getting a vaccine this weekend.

"From high street shops to mosques and sports grounds, our incredible staff together with our wonderful volunteers are doing all they can to make sure it is easier than ever for people, particularly young adults, to get protected."

London mayor Sadiq Khan also tweeted: "It's crucial every possible avenue is taken to ensure all Londoners take up both vaccine doses as soon as possible.

"From stadiums to supermarkets, parks to pop ups like here at the @Tate - thanks to the efforts of @NHSEnglandLDN it's now easier than ever to #GrabAJab."

The fresh calls to get jabbed come as concerns mount about the number of new coronavirus cases being reported, with more than 50,000 on Friday for the first time since mid-January.

The surge in infections is also fuelling the so-called "pingdemic" - as the NHS Test and Trace app wreaks havoc on businesses and travel.

Some companies are under threat with between 5% and 10% of their workforce isolating after being pinged by the NHS COVID-19 app.

"It will good to see everyone enjoying the park," Aidan said, but expressed concern over rising cases.

He said you have to "bite the bullet or keep everyone locked in", adding: "It's a difficult one to manoeuvre around - I feel like we're doing alright".

Celebrity chef Rick Stein is said to be leading a revolt with his family in the Cornish fishing village of Padstow, where the number of people being pinged is threatening to destroy the livelihoods of the town's restauranteurs, according to The Telegraph.

The flurry of pings has also disrupted travel, with a large number of isolating bus drivers forcing cancellations for most routes in East Yorkshire on Saturday.

Sky News has been speaking to members of the public today about the vaccine and the lifting of restrictions.

Terry and Christina Haskey have just had their second COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up centre in Wandsworth Common.

Mrs Haskey said she expects "more and more people" to turn up for their jabs this afternoon following a quiet start this morning.

She added she feels reassured now she has received her second jab because she can travel to see her sisters in Portugal.

But she said restrictions should not lift on Monday because we need to be more "cautious", adding "there is a lot of the virus around".

Mr Haskey said we should "carry on as we are and take reasonable precautions", such as wearing face masks on public transport and in shops.

Friends Aidan and Sean, who are both awaiting their second COVID-19 jab in August, said they were looking forward to lockdown lifting on Monday.

"It will be good to see everyone enjoying the park," Aidan said, before expressing concern over the recent rise in cases.

But he said you have to "bite the bullet or keep everyone locked in", adding: "It's a difficult one to manoeuvre around - I feel like we're doing alright".

People aged 18 or over are encouraged to visit their nearest walk-in centre this weekend to get jabbed or book their appointment on the National Booking Service website.

NHS England said those who attend a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and can book their second dose appointment using the national booking system.

Second doses are also available to people who had their first dose eight weeks ago or longer, NHS England added.

The latest grab a jab weekend comes after the UK reported 51,870 cases on Friday - the highest since 15 January.

The latest daily case total is still some way below the peak of the second wave of the virus, which reached 68,053 infections on 8 January.

But the numbers are on a clear upward trend, with average daily cases up 35% week-on-week.

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