A total of 1,635 people took the opportunity to #GrabAJab at the Covid-19 pop-up vaccination center during the Open at Royal St George’s in Sandwich.

Thanet Saga’s vaccination team has set up near the entrance to the championship golf course, offering workers and spectators the chance to have their first or second dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines.

Phil Myers was the 1,000th person to receive a Covid vaccine at the Sandwich Open pop-up vaccination center on Sunday

Phil Myers, 36, of Folkestone, was the 1,000th person to appear in #GrabAJab.

The Harvey Grammar School alumnus was golfing with his father, Alan Myers, a member of Channel Rotary and Sene Valley Golf Club in Folkestone, and his brother-in-law, Andrew Woolford, also 36.

He said: “I never thought I could have my jab here.

“It’s an honor to be the 1,000th person. Really good.”

The pop-up was next to the main entrance, allowing spectators and staff to stop by the vaccination center upon arrival or exit from the four-day golf championship.

Up to 32,000 people attended the 149th Sandwich Open each day.  Photo: Barry Goodwin
Up to 32,000 people attended the 149th Sandwich Open each day. Photo: Barry Goodwin

After four days of practice, the experts took the start Thursday when the majority of people descended on Sandwich. That day, 175 people took the opportunity to get vaccinated.

On Friday, 362 more hits were given. On Saturday, another 424 people arrived. Then, on Sunday, a whopping 674 “putts” were less at risk of Covid-19 by getting vaccinated.

Dr Ash Peshen, general manager of the Thanet Saga vaccination team, said: “We were expecting around 50 a day, so having 1,635 people to take a jab is amazing and far exceeds our expectations.

“Drivers for getting the jab included the ability to go on vacation, feel safer when socializing and generally get back to normal.

“People want this vaccine, they want their lives back. The younger ones, those in the 18-40 age group, told us time and again that they liked the convenience of the pop-up clinic. “

Phil and Alan Myers with Phil's brother-in-law Andrew Woolford at the Open
Phil and Alan Myers with Phil’s brother-in-law Andrew Woolford at the Open

The Thanet Saga vaccination team was invited to the Open by organizers The R&A and the European Tour medical team working at the championship.

The R&A also gave tickets to local NHS workers, so that any golf fan who wished could join them at the Open.

Wilf Williams, Head of NHS Kent and Medway‘s Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I would like to thank the R&A and European Tour teams for allowing our vaccination team to not only increase the number of vaccines given, but for helping to show people how easy and quick it is to take a jab and help reduce the risk to themselves and others of Covid-19.

“We’ve worked really hard to provide as many walk-in and pop-up clinics as possible in places people will be, as well as to support booked appointments.”

Across Kent, the number of Covid cases is on the rise, with those who tested positive increased by 2,200 in seven days.

However, the number of people hospitalized remains well below previously seen levels, with 29 Covid patients in the county hospital as of July 13.

For the latest news and advice on the coronavirus, click here.

Read more: All the news of Sandwich

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