Barnet FC’s home stadium has been turned into a major GP-led coronavirus vaccination centre.

The Hive London, home of the Barnet Football Club in Cannons Park became one of the first Coivd-19 NHS vaccination centres in the UK after it began administrating it on Tuesday (December 15).

It also becomes the first site within a football stadium to open its doors to the NHS for treatment, as the potentially life-saving vaccine is rolled out to those who are most vulnerable within the local community.

The grounds will continue to be used as a vaccination centre over the next five months and will utilise its large facilities to enable a “constant flow of people”.

Five healthcare workers were the first to get the jab at the site on Tuesday.

Dr Meena Thakur, clinical director of Harrow East Primary Care Network, said: “This could be the start of us beginning to get back to some sort of new normal, so this is a momentous day for us all.”

The Harrow East Primary Care Network say they aim to vaccinate 350 people a day, with the priority group being over-80s.

There are five vaccination stations currently, which will double to 10 from Thursday when they are due a second batch of a further 975 vaccines.

Dr Thakur said: “We’re doubling the stations so we don’t waste a day, a minute.”

With the vaccination process officially due to start at midday, the GP said a socially-distanced queue had already formed well in advance, despite the rain.

She said: “Our patients were already here by 11.30am, raring to go.

“I was very, very pleasantly surprised at the number of patients that have arrived.”

She said it is “so important” that people take up the vaccine when contacted for an appointment.

Harrow has more than 10,000 people aged 80 and over, Dr Thakur said, so people had to be prioritised on factors including whether they were physically able to make it to the centre and whether they had certain conditions such as diabetes or were from a BAME background, making them more vulnerable to the virus.

Chairman Tony Kleanthous said: “We are at the centre of our community and are extremely honoured to be able to do our bit in helping the NHS roll out the vaccine.

“Seeing the huge efforts of the NHS is inspiring and we owe it to them to be able to play a small part in supporting the collective fight against the virus. The work the NHS are delivering from our site aligns well with our community objectives and the Club’s proud traditions.”

Daniel Martin, head of The Hive Foundation, said they wanted to do “everything that we possibly can” while unable to have fans as usual in the stadium due to coronavirus restrictions.

He said: “The one thing we do have is a lot of space, and we felt that it was a perfect fit certainly as we are centralised to our community.

“We’re a community club essentially, and we want to be able to effect change as much as we can.”