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Racecourse vaccination centre to shut for day to allow horse racing to continue

Newbury Racecourse provides up to 1,500 jabs per day.


Runners make their way to the start at Newbury Racecourse (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Runners make their way to the start at Newbury Racecourse (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Runners make their way to the start at Newbury Racecourse (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

A racecourse which is hosting a Covid-19 vaccination hub that provides up to 1,500 jabs daily is temporarily halting the service to enable its horse racing to continue.

Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire opened its vaccination hub on Thursday last week as part of the nationwide drive to inoculate against the virus.

But less than a week later, the centre will shut for a day on Wednesday for a scheduled race day.

Horse racing is allowed to continue under lockdown rules because it is considered an elite sport.

The racecourse posted on Twitter on Thursday: “A heartwarming moment as the first patients arrive at the racecourse to receive the vaccine against Covid-19. Proud to play a small part in this positive moment and our thanks to all @BerksWestCCG & local GP’s who are working tirelessly to distribute up to 1500 vaccines a day.”

It also posted: “A decision was taken not to operate on Wednesday to minimise the risk to all participants, but this is being reviewed moving forward.”

A spokeswoman for the racecourse told the PA news agency: “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.”


Newbury Racecourse (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Newbury Racecourse (Andrew Matthews/PA)


Newbury Racecourse (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Newbury has 29 race days scheduled for the year including Wednesday, one in February and four in March.

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.”

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