England’s top doctor: Be a team player, get your NHS COVID jab

As England prepare for the Euro 2020 final the country’s top doctor has urged everyone to “be a team player” and get their NHS COVID vaccination.

The number of people who have received at least one jab could fill Wembley Stadium, which will host the game against Italy, more than 425 times over.

The NHS Vaccination Programme will play its own role in the action on Sunday night with an advert encouraging those yet to get the jab to join the millions already vaccinated in the run up to the match.

Fans turning up to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s men can grab a jab by dropping into the NHS’s Wembley vaccination centre just a short stroll from the famous arch.

And hundreds of other sites will be offering a walk-in service across the country over the weekend. They are being publicised locally.

Clubs including Millwall and Crystal Palace will become pop up clinics this weekend as the NHS and football team up once again in a bid to get the country vaccinated.

People can also book into NHS vaccine services at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Leeds Elland Road Stadium or Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium.

Other sporting sites playing their part in the NHS vaccination programme, the largest in health service history, includes St Helen’s rugby ground.

Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is running throughout the weekend with hundreds of sites offering a walk in service so whether you will be cheering on England or have other plans it couldn’t be easier to grab a jab.

“The vaccine is England’s best defence, protecting yourself, your family and your loved ones against COVID so be a team player and get both your vaccinations in what is a game of two jabs.”

The Wembley vaccination site at the Olympic Office Centre will be open from 9am to 7pm on Sunday.

So far the NHS Vaccination Programme has jabbed over 38 million people across the country – more than 85% of all adults.

It is enough to fill Wembley 425 times, while the 29 million people who have had both doses could fill the 90,000-seater 319 times.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “The vaccine rollout has been a shot in the arm for the whole country and just like this England team, they have lifted our spirits when we needed it most.

“Shot-by-shot, jab-by-jab the vaccines are helping us safely return life closer to normal and savour moments like the game today with our friends and loved ones.

“With over 80 million doses administered so far, the NHS is building a wall of protection across the UK and everyone has a chance to contribute by getting jabbed this weekend if they’ve not already.”

The NHS Vaccination Programme will play its own role in the action on Sunday night with an advert encouraging those yet to get the jab to join the millions already vaccinated in the run up to the match.

The NHS is contacting all adults to bring forward their second dose from 12 to 8 weeks in line with updated JCVI guidance.

People can book at one of the 1,700 vaccination centre, pharmacy or general practice sites across the country that are available through the national booking service.

There are also several walk-in sites located around the country, such as the one in Wembley, where people can attend without an appointment and get jabbed.

The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December 2020.

Vaccine Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “Today’s match is a massive moment for this country and we want you to be part of it. Vaccines have been a game-changer in our battle against this virus, and have made it possible for fans to be back in the stadiums to back the players to the final whistle.

“Our health team across the country have now delivered over 80 million vaccine doses across the UK, which is a staggering achievement and is testament to the herculean efforts of NHS staff.

“We all have a chance to play our part in defeating this virus and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t yet had their jab to make use of one of the walk-in vaccination sites available for people enjoying the football this weekend.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam, said: “Just like England’s amazing defence, vaccines are our solid back line, tilting the odds in our favour by providing a wall of protection the virus can hardly get through.

“If you are watching the football this weekend – also seize the moment and get your vaccine. By severely weakening the link between case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths – vaccines will  help us return to normal as quickly as possible, and play a major part of trying to keep football going right through next season.”