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Football fans urged to prioritise Covid jabs over matches at stadiums

Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care at NHS England, offered the advice amid surging cases of the Omicron Covid variant.

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Dr Nikki Kanani, the most senior English GP, during a media briefing in Downing Street on Covid-19 (PA)

Dr Nikki Kanani, the most senior English GP, during a media briefing in Downing Street on Covid-19 (PA)

Dr Nikki Kanani, the most senior English GP, during a media briefing in Downing Street on Covid-19 (PA)

A national health chief has urged football fans to go to a stadium this weekend to get their booster “rather than going to watch a match”.

Dr Nikki Kanani, director of primary care at NHS England, offered the advice during a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday night amid surging cases of the Omicron Covid variant.

Dr Kanani said: “This is our chance to make choices for each other and for our NHS, so my advice would be if you’re going to go to a stadium at the weekend, make it one where you can get your vaccine or help out to give a vaccine, rather than going to watch a match.

“And to that point, if you’re a role model in society, please get your vaccine because actually it’s dependent on all of us to show the way right now and to make decisions that help to protect society.”

Downing Street earlier announced mass vaccination centres would open at Wembley Stadium and at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, within days.

During Wednesday’s press conference, the Prime Minister said “jabathons” were already taking place at Elland Road, the home of Premier League club Leeds United.

Boris Johnson said: “Let’s slow down Omicron’s spread and at the same time let’s reduce the harm Omicron can do to us by building up our vaccine defences. We’re jabbing in hospitals, we’re jabbing in surgeries, we’re jabbing in pharmacies and in pop-up centres.

“We’re jabbing in shopping centres and on high streets, in football stadiums, with mass events planned at Stamford Bridge and Wembley this weekend, and daily ‘jabathons’ at Elland Road in Leeds.

“We are throwing everything at it and, wherever you are, we’ll be there with a jab for you. So please, get boosted now.”

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