Covid-19: 'Grab a jab' for all over-18s opens in England

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Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus (left) gets his Covid vaccination from an NHS frontline workerImage source, Islington Council
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Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus has already been jabbed

Stadiums, shopping centres and theatres will be among hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites to open across England this weekend in a bid to boost the number of people getting jabbed.

The "grab a jab" campaign means any adult will be able to get a Covid vaccine without an appointment.

NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a "race to the finish line" in its vaccine programme.

More than 44 million people in the UK have received at least one dose.

A further 18,270 coronavirus cases in the UK were recorded on Saturday, according to the latest government figures, and there were a further 23 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

The number of new cases in the UK is rising, with Saturday's figures the highest since early February.

Vaccine sites will be publicised locally so people can choose the location best for them, or they can type in their postcode to the NHS website to find their nearest site.

Sporting grounds involved in the vaccination drive include the Newcastle Eagles basketball arena, Watford's Vicarage Road, Birmingham's Edgbaston cricket ground and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

People who get a vaccine at the Emirates Stadium between now and Monday are being offered a free tour of the stadium as part of their visit.

The event is called Gunner Get Jabbed, and organisers said they hoped to get "even more people down there than were at Spurs' stadium".

In addition to mass vaccination centres, there will be buses offering jabs in Dudley, Colchester, Ipswich and several other towns.

The statistics show 44m - 83.7% of the adult population - have received a first dose of a coronavirus jab and 32m - 61.2% - have had two doses.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon said: "With more than 63 million jabs already delivered by the NHS in England, we're now in a race to the finish line, and with this new online service, it is easier than ever to find a convenient place to get your vaccine.

"With every jab give, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms."

The government aims to have offered a first dose to all adults by 19 July - the date when the final stage of lockdown easing is scheduled to go ahead.

It also hopes to have at least 65% of adults fully vaccinated at that point, which it hopes will enable more big summer events to go ahead safely.

This weekend marks the date when the 2021 Glastonbury Festival should have gone ahead and founder Michael Eavis recorded a video highlighting the grab-a-jab opportunities in his area.

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"This weekend fortunately, all the people that have not been vaccinated so far in the country can actually get a jab. And they need to get it done, this weekend. The Glastonbury weekend," Mr Eavis said.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined a London vaccine summit on Friday in a bid to boost jab uptake in the capital.

London lags behind the rest of England in vaccine uptake, with data showing that an estimated 83.1% of over-50s in London had received both doses of vaccine by 20 June.

All other regions across the country are above 90%, according to the figures published by NHS England.

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