Sturgeon thanks BrewDog after founder offers to use closed bars as vaccination hubs

Connor Parker
·4-min read
BrewDog's bars, along with the rest of the hospitality sector, are currently closed across the country. (Getty)
BrewDog's bars, along with the rest of the hospitality sector, are currently closed across the UK. (Getty)

Nicola Sturgeon has thanked the head of BrewDog after he offered up his bars to be used as vaccination centres free of charge.

Scotland based BrewDog’s bars and pubs have been closed alongside the rest of the hospitality sector in all of the UK.

The head of the company, James Watt tweeted on Thursday: "Hi @MattHancock & @NicolaSturgeon. We would like to offer our closed @BrewDog venues to help with a quick rollout of the vaccine. For free.

Read more: Isles of Scilly drinkers enjoy pints in last of England's pubs to keep doors open

"We have waiting areas, huge refrigerators, separate rooms for vaccinations and an ace team who can help organise. We want to help."

In response to the tweet, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Thank you. I’ll pass this on to our vaccination team.”

After, Watt tweeted: “Thanks @NicolaSturgeon - we are here & ready to do whatever we can to help get our country through this pandemic.”

Read more: Gavin Williamson 'confident' England won't need another national lockdown

With the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, it will be much easier to get the vaccine to more of the population.

This is because the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which means fridges at pubs and bars will be able to handle it without any modification.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is the only other vaccine that has been approved so far, must be stored at -70C and therefore requires a special fridge to keep it stable.

Watch: Hancock: Oxford vaccine will be rolled out from Monday

A BrewDog spokeswoman said: “We are excited to work with the government to do all we can to help with a fast and effective vaccine rollout and we would like to thank Nicola Sturgeon for getting in touch so quickly.”

Earlier in the pandemic, BrewDog launched a beer in response to the Dominic Cummings controversy – called Barnard Castle Eye Test after a fan vote – with profits going towards making hand sanitiser for the NHS.

Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday that they expected to publish timescales for administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab soon, with the earliest vaccination expected to happen on Monday.

Read more: Tier 4 COVID rules: Everything you can and can't do (in 100 words)

BrewDog helped produce hand sanitser at the start of the pandemic. (Getty)
BrewDog helped produce hand sanitser at the start of the pandemic. (Getty)

The first minister said: "We are still awaiting certainty on delivery schedules for Oxford-AstraZeneca, and then we will update as quickly as we can on what our expectations are for timescales.

"As far as vaccine centres go, one of the advantages of the new vaccine is that because it is logistically easier it is more able to be got to GP practices. That will allow us to speed up the vaccination in the first instance of those who are not in care homes.

"We take nothing for granted but we will get people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and we will update parliament as regularly as we can as to the certainty of delivery and the knowledge we have about that."

The roll-out of the latest vaccine is welcome news for many, but it will be many months before they will begin to have a real effect on the countries fight against coronavirus.

The UK is facing a difficult few months as the cold winter temperatures combined with the new faster-spreading variant of COVID-19 put the NHS under unprecedented amounts of pressure.

Cases have more than doubled the past week, with over 50,000 people testing positive on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The latest test and trace figures showed a total of 232,169 people tested positive at least once in the week to 23 December.

The number was up by a third on the previous week and is the highest weekly total since the service was launched in May.

Watch: How does the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine work?