The country’s top GP has urged people to “roll up, roll up” their sleeves and come forward for a COVID jab this weekend, as a circus joins the long list of sites to take part in the NHS COVID vaccination programme.
Festivals, beachfronts and football stadiums will transform into vaccination centres as NHS staff and volunteers pull out all the stops to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated.
People visiting Circus Extreme in Halifax on Saturday will be able to see death-defying acts performed by stunt riders, pilots and acrobats, before grabbing a jab alongside the jugglers.
Located in a pop-up clinic just outside the Big Top, even people without tickets to the show can still get protected.
In the capital, a vaccine bus will be stationed at the Summer of Love Festival in Holland Park, Kensington, where visitors will be able to get vaccinated while enjoying public art trails and guided tours.
In Poplar, east London, a four-day vaccine festival is running until Monday, with live music and free food.
Football fans can also get vaccinated at Burnley FC, where a pop-up site will be administering doses of Pfizer, and jabs will be on offer today (Saturday) at Goodwood Racecourse near Chichester, as the Stewards Cup brings the major horseracing festival to a close.
People can visit the nhs.uk website to book an appointment or find vaccine sites in their area.
More than 2,000 sites have already taken part in the NHS COVID vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history and fastest in the world, which has delivered more than 70 million doses and fully protected more than 31.5 million.
With 87% of adults having had at least one dose, and 7 in 10 now fully vaccinated, the NHS is making a concerted effort to get as many people protected as possible.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said: “Thanks to the incredible hard work of NHS staff and volunteers across England in what has been the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in health service history, nearly nine in 10 adults have received at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine, giving them crucial protection against coronavirus.
“From festivals to farm shops, circus tents and stadiums, NHS teams are working hard to set up vaccine clinics at a huge range of popular locations, all with the aim of getting as many people vaccinated as possible.
“So roll up that sleeve and grab your jab at one of the many walk-in sites open this weekend – it remains the best way to protect yourself and your loves ones.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our vaccination programme is saving thousands of lives and preventing millions of infections, allowing us to enjoy our freedoms once again.
“The NHS is making it easy as possible for people to get their jab with new vaccination centres opening everywhere from festivals to football grounds. If you’re eligible for your first or second dose, come forward this weekend and protect not only yourself, but your loved ones and your community.”
John Haze, director of Circus Extreme, added: “It may not be the normal thing you expect to see when you enter the Circus Extreme Big Top but we are really proud to be supporting the NHS COVID vaccination programme.
“We had no hesitation in letting the NHS host a walk-in clinic in the tent so that more people can get their jab at a convenient time, and we hope lots people will take up this offer.”
Other sites offering vaccines this weekend are the Malcolm X Community Centre in Bristol and the Greendale Farm Shop in Exeter, while walk-in clinics will be running in Nottingham, Derbyshire, Birmingham and Leicester.
Yesterday (Friday), a mosque in Peterborough and a supermarket in Haverhill were offering vaccines, while in the popular destination of Felixstowe, Suffolk, people visiting for a day could grab an ice cream and a jab at the beachfront.
On Thursday (29 July), Thorpe Park in Surrey was vaccinating thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies at a pop-up clinic amidst the likes of Nemesis Inferno, Colossus and Stealth.
So far, more than 70 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered by the NHS since Margaret Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry last December.
The NHS is texting adults to remind them to bring forward their second jab forward to eight weeks, in line with updated JCVI guidance.
People who attended a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and will then be able to book in their second dose appointment using the national booking system.
Anybody who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.