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NFL stadiums offered up as vaccination sites

The NFL American football league has offered the use of its 30 stadiums as COVID-19 vaccination centres following the conclusion of the season.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to US President Joe Biden on Friday to make the offer. Seven NFL teams are already using their stadiums as vaccination centres: the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

In his letter to President Biden, Goodell noted that stadiums are well equipped to serve as vaccination centres after being used successfully as COVID-19 testing sites earlier in the pandemic.

The letter said: “The NFL and our 32 member clubs are committed to doing our part to ensure that vaccines are as widely accessible in our communities as possible. To that end, each NFL team will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials.

“This is currently being done at seven NFL stadiums today. We can expand our efforts to stadiums across the nation more effectively because many of our clubs have offered their facilities previously as COVID testing centres as well as election sites over the past several months.

“We look forward to further discussion with your administration as well as your partners in state and local governments to advance this effort. Thank you for your leadership and for allowing the NFL to assist your public health efforts.”

The letter was sent ahead of yesterday’s (Sunday’s) season-ending Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, where 7,500 vaccinated health care workers were among the 22,000 fans in attendance.

President Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days of his administration. Speaking ahead of the Super Bowl, the president said he would “absolutely” take the NFL up on its offer.

On Friday, the San Francisco 49ers and the County of Santa Clara announced plans for the creation of California’s largest vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium (pictured). The site opened this week and has the initial capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people per day, with plans to increase capacity to up to 15,000 a day as vaccine supplies increase.

49ers president Al Guido said: “We recognise the urgent need for an effective and equitable vaccination effort for our community and are proud to partner with the County of Santa Clara to bring this vaccination site online as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have brought every resource at our disposal to bear on this challenge to ensure members of the community we live in each and every day can be vaccinated safely and quickly.”

The Levi’s Stadium site will be staffed and operated by the County of Santa Clara Health System.

Images: San Francisco 49ers