Villa Park to open as vaccination centre

English Premier League football club Aston Villa has detailed plans for Villa Park to be used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre by the NHS.

The stadium will be used as one of a number of vaccination hubs in the Birmingham area, with the site to support distribution alongside local GPs and pharmacists.

NHS staff and volunteers will be situated in the Holte End area of the stadium and it is hoped the site will be able to administer thousands of vaccines each week. The operation will be scaled up or down depending on supplies of the vaccine, as well as demand.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said: “We are a club which takes great pride in serving the local community. There is no better way to do that at this time than by providing one of the vital vaccine centres in the city.

“We offered the use of Villa Park to the NHS immediately and we are really pleased that our stadium was chosen to carry out these life changing jabs as we hopefully progress towards a return to a more normal way of life.

“A large number of our staff will be working as volunteers in the programme and we would encourage everyone within our community who receives an offer from the NHS to have a vaccination at Villa Park to please do so.”

Vaccinations at Villa Park will be by appointment only. The centre will be open seven days a week, including on match days with fixtures still being played behind closed doors.

A new vaccination centre has also opened today (Tuesday) at JobServe Community Stadium, home of League Two club Colchester United. The stadium will serve as one of six new vaccination centres opening in Essex and Suffolk.

Sites will also open at Chelmsford City Racecourse and the Cliffs Pavilion arts venue in Southend-on-Sea. Each of the centres will be able to vaccinate hundreds of people a day.

Villa Park joins fellow Premier League grounds Elland Road and Selhurst Park, the homes of Leeds United and Crystal Palace, respectively, in becoming a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Elland Road was last month confirmed as one of four large vaccination sites being established in West Yorkshire, along with John Smith’s Stadium, home of Championship club Huddersfield Town.

Palace donated Selhurst Park to the NHS last month and the site is one of the biggest vaccination centres in London. The Glaziers Lounge in the main stand of Selhurst Park has been adapted to provide NHS staff and volunteers with the necessary welfare facilities to roll out the vaccine.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Manchester United has opened Old Trafford for use by St John Ambulance as a training centre for the vaccination programme in England. Four hospitality suites across the stadium are being used as a large-scale training facility.

Manchester City is also supporting a vaccination centre at the Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, which is located on the same Etihad Campus site as the club’s Etihad Stadium. City has provided access to Etihad Stadium for the training of nurses and staff who will operate the centre.

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