London football stadium converted into huge Covid-19 vaccine site

Barnet FC’s home is being used as inoculation centre for residents

Thousands of people this week braved the rainy weather to queue outside a north London football ground – to receive a Covid-19 vaccine injection.

More than 130,000 people in the UK have been vaccinated in the week since the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine was approved.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the vaccine introduction, tweeted that 137,897 people were inoculated between December 8 and December 15.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is hoping millions of people will have the shot by the end of the year.

To achieve this, the UK government needs to set up large-scale vaccination clinics in sports stadiums and conference centres.

On top of this, general practitioners' clinics in more than 100 parts of England have begun offering the vaccine this week.

In North London, football team Barnet FC’s stadium is  a vaccination centre for local residents.

Five healthcare workers were the first to have their shots on Tuesday.

“We’ve started with patients who are 80 and over, who've got risk factors," said Dr Meena Thakur, clinical director of Harrow East Primary Care Network.

"They may have diabetes or chronic heart conditions or other conditions."

Dr Thakur said she and her colleagues had been working around the clock day and night to vaccinate people.

“We’re doubling the stations so we don’t waste a day, a minute,” she said.

Daniel Martin, head of The Hive Foundation, the charity arm of the football club, said they wanted to do “everything that we possibly can” while football fans were unable to use the stadium because of coronavirus restrictions.

“The one thing we do have is a lot of space and we felt that it was a perfect fit certainly as we are centralised to our community,” Mr Martin said.

“We’re a community club essentially and we want to be able to effect change as much as we can.”

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