Anfield and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have both been used as testing centres; professional footballers will not be among the first vaccinated despite Premier League revealing a record 40 positive tests; vaccination hubs to be set up at Ashton Gate in Bristol and Epsom Racecourse
Wednesday 6 January 2021 16:35, UK
Liverpool and Tottenham have offered the use of their stadiums to the NHS as a potential venues for administering the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mass vaccination hubs at seven sites across England - including sports venues and London's ExCel convention centre - will begin operations next week, Downing Street has confirmed.
Hubs will be set up in London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Surrey and Stevenage, Number 10 said.
Venues including the Etihad Tennis Centre in Manchester, Epsom Racecourse in Surrey and Bristol City's Ashton Gate stadium will be converted into regional centres in an attempt to meet the Government target of vaccinating 14 million people UK-wide by February.
Other facilities under consideration include Derby Arena; Malvern's Three Counties' Showground, Worcestershire; Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC; and Leicester Racecourse.
Tottenham's £1bn venue was used during the first lockdown for antenatal care and it is currently also being used as a testing centre.
Liverpool would also be willing to open Anfield to the NHS. The stadium has already been used as a mass testing centre for the past few months.
The Premier League champions have been working in partnership with their local council throughout the pandemic and would continue to do all they could to support the council and the people of Liverpool.
There are now two approved vaccines being rolled out in the community, with the most vulnerable members of society being prioritised.
Professional footballers, however, will not be among the first vaccinated despite the Premier League revealing a record 40 positive tests on Tuesday.
Twenty-eight positive results were returned out of 1,311 tests taken between December 28 and December 31, with a further 12 new positives recorded from 984 tests conducted between January 1 and January 3.
Eighteen individuals tested positive in last week's Premier League coronavirus results, which were recorded between December 21-27 and had been the highest total.
Everton vs Manchester City on December 28, Tottenham vs Fulham on December 30 and Burnley vs Fulham on January 3 were all forced to be postponed amid coronavirus outbreaks at City and Fulham.
The Premier League has not discussed the possibility of a circuit break for the season despite the growing number of postponed matches.
Last week it was reported the Premier League was continuing to rule out attempting to source a private supply of coronavirus vaccine despite a recent flurry of postponements of top-flight matches.
It was revealed at the start of December the league had ruled out any move to secure its own supply, and it is understood recent developments have not changed that position.
The league is understood to believe the most vulnerable in society should receive the vaccine first, and in any case, at present, demand outstrips supply and governments around the world have bought up stocks before manufacturers have even produced them.
It is understood clubs have expressed a willingness to assist with the rollout of vaccines, which will now be able to take place on a much greater scale following the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Brighton are understood to be willing to help in any way they can if approached to do so.