Festival-goers will be able to grab a COVID-19 jab as easily as a beer or a burger at the Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend.

It comes as more than half a million 16 to 17-year-olds have received their first shot, according to NHS England.

Music fans can get vaccinated in between sets at pop-up clinics across the two sites this bank holiday weekend, but health officials said people under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not get a dose.

The move comes after some music festivals hit the headlines recently over coronavirus infections being linked to attendees.

Festival-goers at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park, West Yorkshire.
Image: Festival-goers at Leeds Festival can also grab a jab

Some 4,700 COVID-19 cases suspected of being linked to the Boardmasters festival, which took place in Cornwall nearly two weeks ago, are currently being investigated by health officials.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people who attended Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk last month have reportedly tested positive for the virus.

The pop-up vaccination centres at Reading and Leeds follows other major efforts to drive vaccine uptake – with jabs available at nightclubs, football stadiums and the circus.

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Vaccines will be on offer at the Reading site between 9.30am and 5pm from Thursday until Sunday, and from 9am to 1pm on Monday.

At Leeds Festival, jabs will be offered from 10am until 4pm from Friday to Sunday, and from 8am until 11am on Monday.

Health professionals will also be available at the Leeds site on Thursday between 10am and 4pm for revellers who want to discuss the jab.

And on Wednesday, there will a be a two-hour slot for festival staff on Wednesday lunchtime and jabs for early arrivals in the afternoon.

Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and deputy lead for NHS England’s vaccination programme, said: “Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers, more than half a million young people aged 16 and 17 have had their first dose as teams across the country have worked tirelessly to get their communities protected, vaccinating at convenient pop-up clinics in the park, at places of worship and stadiums, and now at Reading and Leeds.

“It is great to see the return of live music and performances, and as festival-goers head to the main stage this weekend to see their favourite headliners, I am also urging anyone who hasn’t to add the ‘vaccine tent’ to their festival itinerary to get that lifesaving vaccine as the best protection we can get from coronavirus.”

The NHS said people aged between 18 and 34 making up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus, which is four times higher than the peak in winter 2020.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted getting a jab is “one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones”.

He said: “Vaccines are saving lives and allowing us to regain the freedoms we’ve been looking forward to over the last 18 months – from visiting family abroad to festivals and gigs.

“It’s brilliant to see different sectors and industries stepping up to help get the country vaccinated, making it easier than ever to get your jab.”

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