Thousands vaccinated as Twickenham Stadium transformed into walk-in Covid jab centre

31 May 2021, 11:33 | Updated: 31 May 2021, 21:45

  • Stadium transformed into Covid-19 vaccination centre for one day only
  • Anyone over 18 can turn up so that vaccine doses aren’t wasted
  • 15,000 jabs made available to anyone with no booking required
  • Organisers started to turn people away at around 7.15pm as supplies ran out
The queue at Twickenham Stadium this afternoon as people turned up for jabs
The queue at Twickenham Stadium this afternoon as people turned up for jabs. Picture: Aisling Taylor

By Joe Cook

Twickenham Stadium was transformed into the UK's largest Covid-19 vaccination centre today, with 15,000 jabs made available for people without a booking.

The rugby stadium in south-west London served as a walk-in vaccination centre from 10am to 8pm with final admissions at 7.30pm. But vaccine supples ran out and organisers started turning people away shortly before 7pm. Over a thousand people were turned away without getting their jab, one witness told LBC this evening.

Eligible people were able to receive their first dose of the vaccine without the need to wait for a booking.

Up to 15,000 people were able to get their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at 119 stations in the stadium.

Anyone over 18 was able to turn up and join the queue to get vaccinated
Anyone over 18 was able to turn up and join the queue to get vaccinated. Picture: Sebastian Wirth

Initially only those over the age of 30 or in clinically vulnerable groups were told they could get the jab. It was later opened up to anyone over the age of 18 because organisers didn't want any doses to go to waste.

People were turned away in their hundreds when supplies ran out shortly after 7pm.

People are being urged to make a booking to reduce waiting times and bring water as forecasters predict the warmest day of the year so far.

Read more: Half of people in their 30s take up vaccine in England over just two weeks

The "Let's Tackle Covid" vaccination event comes in response to a high number of cases of the Indian Covid variant in Hounslow, which borders the grounds.

Ministers are reportedly aiming to get all over-50s fully jabbed by 21 June, with two doses thought to offer much higher protection against the new variant of concern.

Over 600,000 jabs were given on Saturday, with the government hoping to ramp up vaccinations to around a million a day this summer.

Read more: Matt Hancock did not ask experts to consider vaccinating children 'until recently'

Dr Genevieve Small, Chair of Harrow Clinical Commissioning Group, told LBC around 400 staff are involved in preparing and giving the jabs.

"It is only open today, we have brought together teams from across North-West London to come into the stadium today to provide a walk-in service and a book-online service to people who are able to take advantage of this bank holiday to get their vaccine.

"We are trying to make things as easy as possible, they don't need to plan things in advance.

"In this part of London we have seen slightly higher levels of new variants and we want to remain vigilant and protect as many people as possible as quickly as we can."