Thousands queue on second day after London stadiums transformed for vaccination drive

20 June 2021, 17:48 | Updated: 21 June 2021, 06:50

A large queue at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
A large queue at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Thousands of Londoners once again joined queues at stadiums on Sunday after they were transformed into mass vaccination centres for a second day.

Giant jab clinics were set up over the weekend at the Olympic Stadium, Stamford Bridge, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Charlton Athletic FC, Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace Athletics Centre.

Professor Kevin Fenton, regional director for London at Public Health England, told LBC the capital was entering a "summer sprint" to get as many people vaccinated as possible by so-called "freedom day" on July 19.

READ MORE: Huge queues in London as stadiums are transformed into giant Covid jab clinics

READ MORE: Over 700,000 Covid jabs booked in a day as vaccine programme opens to those 18+

He said the uptake in the capital had been lower than elsewhere.

Health official knew getting vaccines into the arms of all Londoners would be harder than in other parts of the county due to its diverse population and its pockets of poverty and deprivation, he added.

But Prof Fenton said there had been "incredible progress" over the past few weeks as medics work to "build resilience" among the population.

Thousands of doses were also administered on Saturday amid the vaccination drive which follows the delay in easing restrictions in England due to the spread of the Delta variant.

People queue outside Tottenham Hotspur's stadium, one of a number of stadiums that has been transformed
People queue outside Tottenham Hotspur's stadium, where a vaccination centre has been set up. Picture: LBC

Public Health England says there has been a 79% rise in one week in cases of the variant, first identified in India, with the increase being driven by younger age groups.

Pictures on Sunday showed huge queues of mainly young people awaiting their jabs at Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Despite the long line, the wait was only about half an hour and people were in and out of the vaccination booths within 10 seconds, one attendee said.

A vaccination drive has come after 'Freedom Day' in England was postponed
A vaccination drive has come after 'Freedom Day' in England was postponed. Picture: LBC

It comes after it was revealed that 700,000 Covid-19 jabs were booked on the day the NHS vaccination programme was opened up to everyone over 18.

People in England made 721,469 appointments through the national booking service on Friday, more than 30,000 an hour or more than eight every second.

NHS England said this does not include appointments made through local GP-led vaccination services, or people getting jabbed at walk-in centres.

Anyone in England over the age of 18 can now book a Covid-19 vaccination jab
Anyone in England over the age of 18 can now book a Covid-19 vaccination jab. Picture: PA

Everyone aged 18 and over is being urged to arrange a jab if they have not yet had one.

The bookings surge came at the end of a week which had already seen almost 1.8 million appointments made in just three days, after the vaccination programme opened up to people in their early twenties.

Government data up to June 19 show that 74,304,520 jabs have been given in the UK so far.

Some 42,964,013 were first doses - a rise of 280,241 on the previous day - and 31,340,507 were second doses, an increase of 236,363.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 9,284 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK.

A further six people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the disease as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 127,976.

Separate figures published by the Office for National Statistics show there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.