The event will be hosting pop-up clinics across the two sites over the bank holiday weekend to allow attendees who have not yet received their vaccine to grab a jab.
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Encouraging young people to get vaccinated
Festival-goers will be able to get a vaccine as easily as a burger or a beer at the event, according to health officials, although the jabs will not be offered to people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The rollout comes as NHS England confirmed more than half a million 16 and 17-year-olds have now received their first dose, and it is hoped the convenience of the pop-up clinics will encourage more people to follow suit.
The offer follows other major efforts to get more young people vaccinated, with jabs already available at nightclubs, football stadiums and the circus.
A new video was released by the NHS earlier this week featuring three previously healthy people in their early 20s and 30s in a bid to show the debilitating effects of long Covid.
The NHS has said that people aged between 18 and 34 now account for more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with Covid-19, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted getting vaccinated is “one of the most important things” people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones, and praised the festivals for stepping up to support the rollout.
He said: “Vaccines are saving lives and allowing us to regain the freedoms we’ve been looking forward to over the last 18 months – from visiting family abroad to festivals and gigs.
“It’s brilliant to see different sectors and industries stepping up to help get the country vaccinated, making it easier than ever to get your jab.”
When will the jabs be available?
Attendees at Reading festival will be able to get a jab between 9.30am and 5pm from Thursday 26 August until Sunday 29 August, and from 9am to 1pm on Monday 30 August.
There will also be a two-hour slot for festival staff on Wednesday lunchtime and jabs for early arrivals in the afternoon.
At the Leeds site, vaccines will be on offer from 10am until 4pm from Friday 27 August to Sunday 29 August, and from 8am until 11am on Monday 30 August.
Health professionals will also be available at the Leeds clinic on Thursday between 10am and 4pm for festival-goers who want to discuss the jab.
Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and deputy lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said: “Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers, more than half a million young people aged 16 and 17 have had their first dose as teams across the country have worked tirelessly to get their communities protected, vaccinating at convenient pop-up clinics in the park, at places of worship and stadiums, and now at Reading and Leeds.
“It is great to see the return of live music and performances, and as festival-goers head to the main stage this weekend to see their favourite headliners, I am also urging anyone who hasn’t to add the ‘vaccine tent’ to their festival itinerary to get that lifesaving vaccine as the best protection we can get from coronavirus.”
The vaccine push comes after several music festivals have been linked to outbreaks of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
Health officials are currently investigating 4,700 cases of coronavirus which are suspected to be linked to the Boardmasters surf and music festival, which took place in Cornwall nearly two weeks ago.
Elsewhere it has been reported that more than 1,000 people who attended Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk last month have since tested positive for the virus.
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