People queue outside a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre at St Thomas' Hospital, amid COVID-19 pandemic, in London, Britain, June 1, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

THE UK’s top general practitioners (GP) has urged people to “roll up, roll up” their sleeves and come forward for a Covid vaccination this weekend, with a circus joining the long list of sites in the NHS vaccination programme.

To make it convenient for people to get vaccinated NHS staff and volunteers has pull out all the stops including beachfronts and football stadiums.

People visiting Circus Extreme in Halifax on Saturday (31) will be able to see performances by stunt riders, pilots and acrobats, before getting a jab.

In the capital, a vaccine bus will be stationed at the Summer of Love Festival in Holland Park, Kensington, where visitors will be able to get vaccinated while enjoying public art trails and guided tours.

In east London, a four-day vaccine festival is running until Monday (August 2), with live music and free food.

Besides, a vaccination site has also been set up at Burnley FC and at Goodwood Racecourse near Chichester.

People are advised to visit the nhs.uk website to book an appointment or find vaccine sites near them.

More than 2,000 sites have already taken part in the NHS Covid vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history and fastest in the world. The drive has so far delivered more than 70 million doses and fully protected more than 31.5 million.

Nearly 87 per cent of adults have had at least one dose, and 7 in 10 are now fully vaccinated.

The NHS is making a concerted effort to get as many people protected as possible.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our vaccination programme is saving thousands of lives and preventing millions of infections, allowing us to enjoy our freedoms once again.

“The NHS is making it easy as possible for people to get their jab with new vaccination centres opening everywhere from festivals to football grounds. If you’re eligible for your first or second dose, come forward this weekend and protect not only yourself, but your loved ones and your community.”

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said: “Thanks to the incredible hard work of NHS staff and volunteers across England in what has been the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in health service history, nearly nine in 10 adults have received at least their first dose of the Covid vaccine, giving them crucial protection against coronavirus.

“So roll up that sleeve and grab your jab at one of the many walk-in sites open this weekend – it remains the best way to protect yourself and your loves ones.”

Separately, England’s top midwife on Friday (30) urged expectant mothers to get the Covid-19 vaccine after new data showed the overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab.

The latest data revealed that no pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine had been admitted to hospital. Since May, just three women had been admitted after having their first vaccine.

In contrast, about 98 per cent of pregnant women were admitted to hospital with the infection who had not been jabbed.

“Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital,” said Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England.

Dunkley-Bent has written to fellow midwives and GP practices across the NHS stressing the need to encourage pregnant women to get the jab to protect them and their baby.

Since April, pregnant women have been offered the jab in line with their age cohort, and health leaders are calling on younger adults to come forward and close the uptake gap.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives have both recommended vaccination as one of the best defences for pregnant women against the deadly infection.

The UK’s independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has also confirmed that the jab is effective and safe for women carrying a baby.

“Every day our members are seeing very sick pregnant women with Covid-19 in hospital and the majority are unvaccinated. We want to reassure pregnant women that Covid-19 vaccines are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth,” said RCOG President Dr Edward Morris.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said, “ It’s so important for pregnant women to get their jab, particularly with the virus being so prevalent and the Delta variant proving itself to be so much more transmissible.”

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