Festival Republic’s 105,000-capacity Reading and Leeds (75,000) festivals will play a role in the NHS vaccination programme this weekend (27-29 August), with the healthcare provider promising it will be as easy to “pick up a jab” as a beer or burger at the events.
Pop-up clinics will be on site throughout the weekend events, including a vaccine bus at Reading. Both sites will offer the opportunity to speak to health professionals who will be able to answer any questions or concerns. Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be given the vaccine.
The initiative follows the news that around 4,700 people tested positive for Covid-19 after attending, or having a connection to, Vision Nine’s 50,000-capacity Boardmasters festival in Cornwall on 11-15 August. Some 75% of them were aged 16-21.
Part of the Government’s Events Research Programme, Festival Republic’s Latitude Festival saw 1,051 people test positive for Covid-19 soon after attending the event on 22-25 July at Suffolk’s Henham Park.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said, “Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers more than half a million young people aged 16 and 17 have had their first dose as teams across the country have worked tirelessly to get their communities protected, vaccinating at convenient pop up clinics in the park, at places of worship and stadiums and now at Reading and Leeds.
“It is great to see the return of live music and performances, and as festival goers head to the main stage this weekend to see their favourite headliners, I am also urging anyone who hasn’t to add the ‘vaccine tent’ to their festival itinerary to get that lifesaving vaccine as the best protection we can get from coronavirus.”
The Reading Festival vaccination clinic will be open 9.30am – 5.00pm from the Thursday through to Monday, with a dedicated two-hour slot for festival staff on Wednesday lunchtime and jabs for early arrivals in the afternoon. The team will be located close to the yellow gate entrance.
The Leeds clinic will be open on the Thursday from 10.00am to 4.00pm for festival goers to talk to health professionals about the vaccination. The site will be offering jabs from 10.00am – 4.00pm from Friday through to Sunday, and from 8.00am – 11.00am on Monday morning. The team will be located next to the first aid and welfare tents just across from the blue camping area.