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Manchester City aids COVID-19 vaccination effort

Premier League football club Manchester City has detailed how it is providing assistance to the newly established COVID-19 vaccination centre located at the Etihad Campus, while Sheffield’s FlyDSA Arena is set to become the latest English venue brought in to aid the effort.

Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, located on the same Etihad Campus site as City’s Etihad Stadium, was last week named by the UK government as one of seven “super-vaccination” centres. The centre commenced operations on Monday, initially open to people over 80 and healthcare staff by appointment only.

Following the announcement late last year that the UK’s vaccination programme would begin, City said it has worked closely with Campus partners to ensure that facilities are prepared and ready. As part of the club’s support, City has provided access to the Etihad Stadium for the training of nurses and staff who will operate the centre. Alongside this, the club will support onsite operations for the duration of the vaccination programme.

In April, under the stewardship of City, a partnership between the Council, NHS and club was established which saw the Etihad Campus transformed to deliver a wide range of campus activities to respond to the evolving pandemic. This included access to facilities, a bespoke centre for rest, relaxation and exercise, site access for click and collect shopping and a drive-through testing centre.

In the months since, the club continued its support for the NHS holding special summer clinics at the Etihad Stadium which enabled approximately 6,000 children across Manchester to keep up to date with their immunisations.

Danny Wilson, managing director of Manchester City Operations, said: “These past months have been extremely challenging for the people of Greater Manchester and the confirmation that a vaccination centre will open at the Etihad Campus is welcome news for everyone.

“Over recent weeks the club has worked closely with Campus partners to ensure the NHS has the support it needs to successfully deliver its vaccination programme and we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Manchester with its long term recovery, as we have sought to do from the earliest days of the pandemic.”

Sarah Price, chief officer for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “The support from the Etihad Campus and Manchester City has been key to enabling us to set up this service so quickly for the people of Greater Manchester.

“Our local healthcare staff and the team at the Etihad Campus have worked together around the clock to get the site ready to receive the vaccines and ensure that staff are trained and ready to go.

“This is one part of a huge effort to provide the vaccine to thousands of people across Greater Manchester. I am really proud of the work that has happened at a phenomenal pace to ensure that our population will be able to return to some sort of normality.”

Meanwhile, the 13,600-capacity FlyDSA Arena is set to become a temporary site to administer vaccinations to the people of Sheffield and the wider region. The Sheffield Star newspaper said the venue will be utilised after a ‘licence to occupy’ agreement was reached between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the arena’s operator, Sheffield City Trust.

FlyDSA Arena’s car park was used by the NHS for a drive-through testing service last year. Under the new deal, all of the arena’s ground floor space and part of the car park will be employed for the vaccination hub, with a plan to operate the centre for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The NHS last week confirmed Premier League club Leeds United’s Elland Road for one of four large vaccination sites being established in West Yorkshire, along with The John Smith’s Stadium, home of Championship club Huddersfield Town.

Image: Manchester City