Independent brewing firm BrewDog has said that it is in talks with the UK government about using its closed bars as temporary coronavirus vaccination centres.
The Scotland-based craft brewer also said it would give anyone vaccinated at one of its bars a commemorative can of beer.
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions and Tier 4 lockdowns across the UK forced the company, which was founded in 2007 and is valued at almost £1.5bn ($2bn), to shut its bars.
BrewDog’s co-founder James Watt said on Thursday on Twitter (TWTR) that the firm is “in talks” with the UK minister in charge of Britain’s vaccine rollout, Nadhim Zahawi and Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Watt added: “We have offered all BrewDog bars to help with a quick rollout of the vaccine. For free”
He also tweeted another message directed at health secretary Matt Hancock and Sturgeon, with the same offer. Sturgeon responded by thanking the beer giant and saying she would pass the offer onto her vaccination team.
A government spokesperson told Yahoo finance: “We are very grateful for all offers of support as we continue to expand our vaccination programme.
“The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of patients with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It will now begin putting it’s extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the weeks and months ahead.”
Vaccine update: We are in now talks with the Minister For Vaccine Deployment @nadhimzahawi & @NicolaSturgeon
We have offered all @BrewDog bars to help with a quick roll out of the vaccine. For free.
We have waiting areas, huge refrigerators & ace people who can help organise. pic.twitter.com/lRRd8uYuTC
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) December 31, 2020
It comes after the new strains of COVID-19 saw record numbers of new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
Cases rose to 55,892 on New Year’s Eve — the highest since mass testing began in May. A further 964 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were also announced on 31 December.
While one million Brits have received their first vaccination, health bosses have called on doctors to back a new decision to give first jabs a priority. This will delay a follow up vaccination for others.
England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty and the chief medical officers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the public would “understand” and “thank” them for the plan, in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, the deployment of the newly approved Oxford University and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) coronavirus jab will begin on Monday, almost a month after the roll out of the Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) vaccine.
However, second doses of either will take place within 12 weeks rather than 21 days, as initially planned.
The government has said the decision to approve the vaccine “follows rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which has concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.”
Watch: Chris Whitty warns coronavirus vaccine shortages will last months