Covid vaccinations at racecourse hub are stopping for a day to allow horse racing to continue

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:19 pm
The hub is temporarily closed today for horse racing (Photo: Getty Images)

A racecourse which is serving as a Covid-19 vaccination hub is temporarily halting its services to allow horse racing to continue.

Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire currently provides up to 1,500 jabs per day, but will see services stop on Wednesday (20 January).

Shut after one week

The racecourse only opened its vaccination hub on Thursday last week (14 January) as part of the nationwide drive to inoculate the UK population against the virus.

Now less than one week later, the centre is shut for a day for a scheduled race day.

Under current lockdown rules, horse racing is allowed to continue as it is considered an elite sport.

A spokeswoman for the racecourse said: “The race day has always been planned and we have made provision for it so it is not hampering the vaccination process.

“The vaccination centre opened last week and the NHS was made aware of the race day.

“We have an abundance of space but a decision was made we would not operate both the race day and the vaccination centre this week, but that is being reviewed so both may be open in the future.”

Race schedules to be reviewed

While a decision was made not to operate the vaccination centre on Wednesday (20 January), the racecourse has said this will be reviewed moving forward.

Newbury has 29 race days scheduled for the year, including today (20 January), one in February and four in March.

It has not yet been confirmed if vaccinations will be halted for these races as well.

A spokeswoman for Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Local NHS staff are working hard to continue to deliver vaccinations throughout the week and into the weekend, and we are working with Newbury Racecourse so vaccinations can continue to take place safely on race days in future.”

More than 4 million jabs done

More than four million people have now received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford Covid-19 vaccine so far in the UK.

The vaccination programme began its rollout on 8 December 2019 and has already seen more than half of those aged 80 and over receive the first of their two jabs.

Letters have now been sent out to people aged 70 and over, and the clinically extremely vulnerable, in England, inviting them to get their jab as the NHS begins the rollout to the next two priority groups.

So far, the NHS has been working to vaccinate care home residents and staff, people aged 80 and over, and frontline health and care staff as a top priority.