Tens of thousands of revellers attending Latitude Festival in Suffolk this weekend will be offered a Covid vaccine
A 40,000-strong crowd began descending on the festival in Henham Park yesterday, which is running at full-capacity as part of a Government scheme.
Festivalgoers who have not yet had a vaccine or received their first eight weeks ago will be able to get jabbed on board an NHS bus within the campsite.
The Government is pushing to get every adult and eligible teenager in the country fully vaccinated before the autumn, when officials will turn attentions to a booster Covid jab and flu programme for over-50s.
Despite all adults being able to get a jab since June 18, a third of 18 to 29-year-olds have still not received a first dose.
At the same time, the virus is sweeping through younger age groups, with case rates among those in their 20s higher than any age group since the pandemic began.
Office for National Statistics report today found that adults under 24 were 12 times more likely to have had Covid last week in England than over-70s, and six times more likely than over-50s.
NHS staff at a vaccination bus set up at the Latitude festival in Henham Park are offering Covid vaccines to people who have not been jabbed and those who got their first injection more than eight weeks ago
Sami Stebbings received a dose of a Covid vaccine on board a vaccination bus at the Latitude festival earlier today
NHS staff have been encouraging people to visit the bus and expect a surge of visitors on Sunday once the festival is over
Latitude — which is the first music event of the year in the world to operate at full capacity — is part of the Government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).
The ERP aims to provide the Government with data on how the virus spreads to provide guidance on how other events can operate safely.
All capacity limits on events including festivals and sports games were lifted on Monday, but the Government has encouraged organisers to use the NHS Covid pass as a condition of entry.
NHS staff working on the vaccination bus — which is open from 10am to 4pm through the festival weekend — are encouraging as many people as possible to get the jab.
Susan Glegg, a NHS nurse who is part of the vaccination team, said some campers have indicated they will return to the bus on Sunday to get their vaccination.
She said they are planning to put on extra staff and are considering staying open later.
‘My opinion is we’re going to get a lot on Sunday,’ she said.
Only 13 people came to the bus to get jabbed on Thursday, while 11 had got the injection by midday on Friday.
Asked about dangers of mixing alcohol and vaccines at the festival, she said: ‘As long as they have the ability to give informed consent they can have it.’
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which polices the safety of drugs in the UK, said there is currently no evidence that drinking alcohol interferes with the Covid jabs.
Around 40,000 ticketholders will attend the festival this weekend, which is part of the Governments Events that are parts of the scheme operate as normal, apart from the entry requirements placed on attendees
People attending Latitude — which is the first music event of the year in the world to operate at full capacity — have to show proof they have been double-jabbed, a negative lateral flow test or a positive Covid immunity tests taken in the last five months
Just 17 Brits out of 58,000 Brits test positive at non-socially distanced sport, music and comedy events in No10 pilot
Just 17 people caught Covid out of nearly 60,000 who attended non-socially distanced mass events as part of a Government pilot in England.
One of the experts behind the scheme, Liverpool University’s Professor Iain Buchan, said there had been ‘outbreaks of joy’ at the events, but no outbreaks of the virus.
Professor Buchan, a public health expert, described the findings as ‘reassuring’ and added: ‘I hope we can all enjoy events like this in the time to come.’
It has raised hopes that festivals, nightclubs and sporting matches can reopen at full capacity after July 19 – more than 16 months after the initial lockdown last March.
Nine events were piloted in total in April and May, including the FA Cup final in front of 21,000 fans at Wembley, a live audience of 4,000 at the Brit awards, a nightclub in Liverpool which hosted 3,000, as well as three 10km outdoor runs for 6,000 athletes and spectators.
The trial was designed to see if Covid outbreaks could be avoided at mass events when the country was originally scheduled to unlock on June 21.
There were 28 cases of Covid at the nine pilots in total, of which 11 were thought to have caught the virus before the events. Only 17 were believed to have picked it up while there.
The 64-year-old, who is calling the team the ‘Pfizer Chiefs’, went on: ‘I’ve never been to a festival before. I think this is fantastic.
‘We were drumming up trade yesterday, we were going round telling everybody that we’re here. That was our break. I absolutely loved it.’
Festivalgoer Felicity Perry got her second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
She said: ‘I saw the sign, thought it was a joke, thought ‘what’s going on over there’, then we ended up five minutes later having our second vaccines.
‘It was written on a chalkboard – ‘come and get vaccinated’. I didn’t expect to see it here.’
Amanda Livesey-Clarke also had her second Pfizer jab at the bus.
She said: ‘I just thought while I’m here and they’re doing them I might as well get it done now rather than wait another two weeks.
‘I know there’s lots of people, younger people who haven’t had it yet.
‘They could be on the fence about it, it could just be really easy to come here and there’s just a bus there.
‘It’s really easy, they’re not having to go online, book it through the website, sometimes that can put people off. I think this is a really good thing to do.’
The four-day festival kicked-off yesterday and its line-up includes Wolf Alice, the Chemical Brothers and Bastille.
It comes as just 43,000 first doses were given out yesterday, compared with more than half a million a day in the spring.
In total, 88 per cent of adults have had their first dose, but this falls to 66 per cent among those aged 18 to 29.
The surge in Covid infections is also hampering the rollout, with those who test positive unable to be jabbed within 28 days of an infection.
The current weekly infection rate of 1,155 cases per 100,000 people in their 20s compares to a rate of just 60 per 100,000 in those over 80.
On Monday Boris Johnson announced vaccine passports will be made compulsory in nightclubs and other ‘crowded’ venues in England from September.
France has reported a huge surge in vaccine appointments after President Macron announced a vaccine passport would be compulsory for people wanting to enter bars, restaurants and other public spaces.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, warned: ‘Young people don’t necessarily feel they are at risk… there is a view, particularly amongst young males, of immortality.
‘Younger people are more hooked into what’s going around on the internet. Fake news and conspiracy theories do have an impact.’