We got vaccinated without an appointment to see what it’s like

Eligible ticket holders attending the Saints v Warrington game tonight were able to be vaccinated without an appointment.

Today, supporters could visit a special drop-in clinic at the Totally Wicked Stadium to have their vaccination before the match, with no need for an appointment.

The ‘jab and go watch the match’ initiative is for any ticket holder eligible for the vaccine and aims to make it as easy as possible for those who still haven’t had their vaccine to get protected as soon as possible.

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Run by St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the centre also reached the remarkable achievement of 150,000 vaccinations delivered at the site.

Our reporter was invited to visit the clinic, speak to staff and supporters and get her own vaccine without an appointment.

Here is how she found the experience.

I arrived around 6pm before the match kicked off at Saints to find a queue already in place with supporters eager to get their first or even second vaccine.

Greeted by marshals and volunteers, I was brought inside the vaccination centre at the ground and it wasn’t long before I was sat in a chair being asked questions about my health and previous vaccination record.

Before I knew it, the Moderna vaccine was ready and the process was over in a matter of seconds.

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Fans who attended the game also didn’t have to wait long and spoke of how convenient it was to be able to get the vaccine whilst already out and in advance of an appointment.

Claire Darwin, from Liverpool, told the ECHO : “It’s been great because now I don’t have to go out of my way. It’s a case of watching the game and getting my second jab at the same time.

“It’s easy. Especially if people are out and about it’s a case of pop in, get it done and off they go again so it is much easier.”

A St Helens fan waiting to be vaccinated at The Totally Wicked Stadium
A Saints fan waiting to be vaccinated at The Totally Wicked Stadium
(Image: Photo by Andrew Teebay)

Mark Darwin said: “We managed to get both of our [first vaccines] in Whiston, but with this going forward, we’ve been able to get it two weeks early.

“It’s all about the safety of everybody. Anything that can be a positive towards that is a good thing.

“The people who do it are lovely and it’s a long day for these guys. We really appreciate it and they’re going out of there way to do this for us.”

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Andy Leech, from Anfield, said he thinks it’s great idea and would like to see it rolled out at other events as the “sooner people get vaccinated sooner, the sooner we can get back to bit of normality.”

He said: “”It’s great because it’s my second one. I had my first one in April so to get it earlier than I should have done is great.

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“I didn’t know if we were eligible with the time difference between the two. The jab is nothing, I don’t mind needles or anything like that, I just wanted to get the second dose done.

“We’ve been lucky to be at all three games. It’s good to be back. It’s weird to have to wear a mask and all that but it’s what you’ve got to do to get back. It’s great.”

Rugby fans recieving the covid vaccination at the Totally Wicked Stadium.(Pic Andrew Teebay).
Andy Leech before his second covid vaccine
(Image: Photo by Andrew Teebay)

Pat Keeley, Operational Lead at the mass covid vaccination centre in St Helens said the process is really simple, with attendees only needing to provide their postcode and date of birth.

She also thanked St Helens RLFC who have supported the programme “since day one.”

Pat said: “People seem really appreciative and they’re surprised at how slick it is, it’s a few minutes really. The response has been really good and hopefully word of mouth will get out there that it’s not actually much of an effort to come and have a vaccine.

“It’s a really good idea and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do more of this going forward, especially over the next few weeks and months with the younger cohort.

“I think not needing to go online to book an appointment – that takes time and effort for most so it’s really good that you can walk in and get your vaccine.

“It’s really good that we can bring it to a group of fans today. We plan to do similar next week for the general public with two more concessions on Tuesday and Friday as well.”

Pat Keeley, Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccine Programme, at the Totally Wicked Stadium
Pat Keeley, Senior Responsible Officer for the Vaccine Programme
(Image: Photo by Andrew Teebay)

The first NHS large-scale Covid-19 mass vaccination centre in Cheshire and Merseyside is staffed by clinicians and a range of qualified volunteers.

Since opening in January, hundreds of people have already stepped forward to work at the centre, including those who have returned to their profession at this time of need.

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News