Selhurst Park to open as COVID-19 vaccination centre

Premier League football club Crystal Palace has announced that Selhurst Park will be used as a vaccination centre in the fight against COVID-19.

Palace has donated Selhurst Park to the NHS and the stadium will become one of London’s biggest vaccination centres when it opens later this month. The stadium was used to prepare meals for key workers and vulnerable people at the start of the pandemic and has now been identified as an ideal location for a mass vaccination centre.

The Glaziers Lounge in the main stand of Selhurst Park has been adapted to provide NHS staff and volunteers with the necessary welfare facilities and to deliver the vaccine safely and efficiently while maintaining social distancing.

Vaccinations will only be issued to those who have received their NHS vaccination invite and the centre will operate by appointment only.

Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “We are proud to be playing our part in helping the NHS deliver the vaccine to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Selhurst Park sits at the heart of our community so we were delighted to put our stadium at the disposal of the NHS. Nothing could be more important than the rapid roll-out of the vaccine program to allow us all to return to something approaching normality.”

Dr Nicola Jones, local GP and GP lead for the roll-out of the vaccine in south-west London, added: “Our teams have done an amazing job working quickly to get ready to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccinations, and we are immensely grateful for the support of organisations like Crystal Palace Football Club who are offering their time and facilities to help the NHS.

“The coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective, and will offer people a vital defence against the virus, but we can’t be complacent, it is still so important that people continue to follow government guidance and keep their distance. The NHS will invite eligible people for the vaccine at a set time to ensure those most at risk are prioritised. It is important not to contact your GP for a vaccination before then.”

Last week, fellow Premier League club Leeds United reached an agreement for Elland Road to host a vaccination centre. Elland Road will host one of four large vaccination sites being established in West Yorkshire, along with The John Smith’s Stadium, home of Championship club Huddersfield Town.

Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium had previously been named by the UK government as one of seven “super-vaccination centres” alongside London’s ExCel Centre, Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, Robertson House Stevenage, Surrey’s Epsom Downs Racecourse, Millennium Point in Birmingham and Newcastle’s Centre for Life.

Premiership rugby union club Harlequins has also announced that its Twickenham Stoop stadium will open as a vaccination centre.

The stadium’s newly rebranded Chris Robshaw Bar will host vaccinations seven days a week, outside of match days. Harlequins has hosted NHS Blood & Transplant blood plasma donations at the stadium throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as well as blood donations in years leading up to the pandemic.

Venues in the US are also being offered up as vaccination centres. State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals NFL American football team, will open a 24-7 site today (Monday).

The Cardinals said the opening of the site is possible in part thanks to a $1m (£741,000/€822,000) grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and with the support of the team, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

The site will open for law enforcement and other protective service workers, with appointments for others in Phase 1B and Phase 1A to be available from tomorrow.

Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team, is also set to open a vaccination centre this week. Once the site is fully operational, it is hoped that up to 12,000 people a day will be vaccinated.

Dodger Stadium has served as a COVID-19 testing site since last May. Testing operations will end today as the vaccination centre opens its doors.

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