COVID-19: Madejski Stadium opens as mass vaccination centre this morning

Reading Football Club's home stadium has become the latest mass vaccination centre. Picture: Phil Creighton

Wokingham residents eligible for a Covid-19 jab must pre-book a slot on the Government website

THIS MORNING, Reading’s Madejski Stadium opened as one of the latest NHS vaccination centres.

The mass vaccination centre has capacity to deliver thousands of covid vaccines each week, working through the prioritisation lists set out by the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

It is being run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and joins a network of large-scale centres across the country including the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and Bucks New University in Aylesbury.

Residents aged 65–69 can book appointments via the NHS national booking service either by ringing 119 or visiting the dedicated website once they receive their invitation letter.  

Earlier eligible groups who have not yet taken up a vaccination offer can also book an appointment at the centre. 

This includes those aged 70  to 80+, as well as front line health and social care workers and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Residents aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions or unpaid carers should wait to be contacted by their GP for their vaccination.

Over the last few weeks, teams from Berkshire West CCG and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been working to set up the site.

Covid operations director for Oxford Health, Tehmeena Ajmal, said: “I am delighted that our NHS Trust has been able to open a third vaccination centre.

“This has been a genuine team effort, working with our local authority and health colleagues to set up an amazing site with the potential to deliver thousands of vaccines a week.”

Dr Abid Irfan from Berkshire West CCG said: “It’s great that we have this mass vaccination centre now up and running in Reading.

“It means we’ll be able to deliver the jabs at pace and this will play a critical role in the vaccination programme which has been working so well across Berkshire West since the first sites came on stream in December. 

He thanked the team involved in setting up the centre, and said it will build on the “great work” already happening across Berkshire West CCG.

He added: “The Madejski Vaccination Centre also means our Primary Care teams will now be able to devote more time to the other healthcare needs of their patients. 

“We’ve all worked incredibly hard to make sure our surgeries continue to provide the wide range of health and care services people need at the same time as rolling out the vaccination programme.”

Nikki Richards, deputy chief executive from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support our public health colleagues during this challenging time.

“By deploying members of the team, we have been able to support the set-up of this mass vaccination centre and aid the NHS in the fight against Covid.  

“While our own critical emergency response continues to be of the utmost importance, we are committed to playing our part in the wider effort to support our communities during this unprecedented time.” 

Residents cannot arrive at the stadium without an appointment. 

Bookings will be staggered to allow for social distancing, and masks must be worn on site.

Marshals will direct residents along the short walk from the car park to the centre and will also assist those with disabilities. 

There will also be trained professionals to support people with mental health problems and those who have language barriers.

To book a vaccination, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination

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