Thousands of people across the country took advantage of a new scheme designed to make it as easy as possible to get a vaccine over the weekend of the 26th/27th June.
The ‘Grab a Jab’ initiative in England is making use of large facilities, including shopping centres, stadiums and entertainment venues, to encourage people who haven’t had a vaccine yet to drop in and get a jab. Among the venues hosting drop-in sessions over the course of the weekend was The Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal FC. Those who popped by to have a jab had the chance to meet the famous mascot, Gunnersaurus and take a stadium tour free of charge.
Across England, there were several sites offering anyone who wanted to get in line and wait for a jab to have their vaccine without making an appointment. Jabs are now available for all over 18s and the government is working towards a target of ensuring everyone has been offered a first dose by July 19th.
NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said that we are now on the home leg of the vaccination drive and the aim is to win “the race to the finish line.” NHS England has already delivered over 63 million vaccines and now the message is loud and clear: anyone who wants to have their vaccine can either book online, call 119 or visit a drop-in centre without an appointment.
With cases rising in the UK and numbers at their highest since February, ministers and health experts are working together to try and ensure that people get their first and second doses as quickly as possible. The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, has spread rapidly and now accounts for over 90% of new cases. Vaccinating at speed has helped to weaken the tie between contracting the virus and ending up in hospital but there is a way to go. The ‘Grab a Jab’ scheme, along with taking steps to reduce the time between first and second doses, will help to ensure that more people are fully vaccinated before the 19th July.
Uptake rates in London are lower than other parts of the country and over the weekend, the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, appeared at a summit to try and boost numbers and ensure that everyone is aware of how they can get their jab. In London, around 83% of over 50s had both doses by June 20th compared to over 90% in all other regions in England.