What the Twickenham Stadium walk-in vaccination event was really like, from people who went
We spoke to some of the thousands who went on bank holiday Monday to try and get the vaccine
Bank holiday Monday saw Twickenham Stadium host the “biggest walk-in vaccination event”, for which people could either show up or book a place, from 10am to 8pm.
This event was originally for residents who were over 30 years old, however there were still vaccines available after thousands were vaccinated, and so the stadium was opened “to all 18 and over who can get here before 7.30pm”.
So naturally many students made a mad dash to Twickenham Stadium in the hopes of receiving their vaccine, some of whom we spoke to about their very mixed experiences:
We are proud to be supporting the biggest walk-in vaccination event this Monday at Twickenham 💙 https://t.co/kwTf4b1U4c
— Twickenham Stadium (@Twickenhamstad) May 28, 2021
Thousands of people vaccinated at @twickenhamstad today. Still spaces and vaccine left: now open to all 18 and over who can get here before 7.30pm!
— @HealthierNWL (@HealthierNWL) May 31, 2021
Those vaccinated were grateful to be given the chance
Ellen was pretty happy overall, saying: “My experience was so positive and really efficient – it took around an hour and I queued for about 45 minutes.
“I’m so grateful to have had the vaccine and I would urge anyone to go get it if there’s another event like it.
“I think it shows the government that young people are jumping at the chance to get the vaccine and are not being irresponsible.”
A Tab London poll revealed that over 90 per cent of students would go to another London walk-in vaccination event if it was held.
Katie was thankful for the chance to get the vaccine early, saying: “It was a very unexpected bank holiday trip but I couldn’t have been more thankful for the opportunity, especially to get the jab earlier than I anticipated and in such a cool setting. I’ve never been more excited to get a needle stuck in my arm.”
The staff handed out water bottles to people in the queue
Maya mentioned her experience with the staff at the event, telling The Tab London: “I booked a slot and got there for just before 6pm, just after they announced they were vaccinating everyone over 18 so it was packed, but I think the walk-in queue was a lot worse.
“When I saw the queue I was a bit worried about how long it would take, but as I’d travelled an hour and a half to get there, I was like ‘I am not leaving without a vaccine’. And the queue actually went so fast – I was queuing for about an hour total which was way less than expected when I first saw it.
“All the staff were so amazing, handing out water bottles, joking around with us and just being super friendly on what must have been a really chaotic and draining day, I was so impressed. Everyone was wearing a mask and trying to social distance as well.
“This sounds weird because we were literally just standing in a queue but there were really good vibes, and it was so nice to see so many young people step up and be so enthusiastic about getting the vaccine.”
Not everyone was able to get the vaccine
Unfortunately, not everyone was able to get the vaccine due to the massive turnout.
Ahmed travelled from central London to get the vaccine, but unfortunately didn’t get it in the end. He told The Tab London: “It was good seeing so many young people trying to get the vaccine, but it was a bit annoying they didn’t Tweet or mention the extent of the queue.”
Ahmed had waited in the queue from 6:15pm to 7:30pm but ended up getting turned away along with “like 1,000 people”.
Anna also travelled from central London. Her and her friends “travelled from Camden for like over an hour” and were “on the bus when it leaked on Twitter that they ran out of vaccines.” She described the event as “chaotic” as “there were like 15,000 people in the queues outside when we got there at 7pm”.
Amidst the chaos she also had to try and find one of her friends who “got on the buses from Richmond station” but got lost from the group in the crowds. But overall she said “honestly it was really fun to be around loads of people even though we didn’t end up getting the vaccine”.
Anna also spoke to The Tab London about young people getting vaccinated. She said: “I think that there is this rhetoric that young people don’t want the vaccine, or that we need to be encouraged, and I think the massive turn out at Twickenham really shows that we do want to get vaccinated – we’re just waiting to be told when we can.”
The queue got pretty chaotic
Leonardo also mentioned how chaotic it became. He “just went in the hope of getting a vaccine”, and felt that “there was a good atmosphere, but as I was towards the back of the queue, with the people that weren’t getting the vaccine in the end, when things started moving there was lots of queue jumping and it became quite chaotic.
“There was lots of pushing and shoving and it became quite cramped. Then we were told there were no more vaccines so some people were annoyed. People crowded the train station so I went to the pub with friends until it died down.”
Another local student also had a non-socially distanced experience. They said: “The stadium changed it to over 18s, and then ran out of vaccines, so a load of us who got there between 5pm and 6pm got herded into a car park and stood in basically something akin to a mosh pit.
“People who arrived after us just kept walking along the normal line, and then we got told to leave.
“I just hope I didn’t pick up anything there. I just hope people who went didn’t have Covid simultaneously and pass it on to others.”
Just one more time for the people in the back: WE WANT TO BE VACCINATED
The student also told us: “I think yesterday shows that young people are committed to following scientists’ leads, we aren’t going to be intimidated by anti-vaxxers (there was one there by the way, I think he got booed), and we aren’t the irresponsible virus spreaders that some people like to make us out to be – we want things to be normal just as much as anyone else. I’m looking forward to when I do get to have my jab.”
While not everyone managed to get the vaccine and students had mixed experiences of the event at Twickenham Stadium, the huge turnout does definitely show that young people are eager to get the vaccine without needing to be encouraged to do so.
With the vaccine rollout continuing and reaching younger ages, we’re all praying for another walk-in vaccination event and the chance for students to get that all-important vaccine.