The Lights Theatre in Andover has been selected as a vaccination site for the rollout of the Covid vaccine.

The Leader of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), Councillor Phil North, made the announcement late on Thursday (December 10) evening.

The theatre was selected due to its size because of the necessity of having refrigeration units for the vaccine. At present, the only vaccine approved for use in the UK is made by Pfizer/BioNTech, which must be stored at -75˚C.

While other vaccines, such as the Oxford vaccine, may be stored in a regular fridge, these are yet to gain regulatory approval for use in the UK.

Cllr North said: “Following discussions with our Clinical Commissioning Groups, I’m pleased to confirm that Test Valley Borough Council will be providing The Lights Theatre in Andover and the Crosfield Hall in Romsey to the NHS as venues for the rollout of the Covid vaccination.

“These sizeable venues are needed, especially in the short term, as the early vaccines will need to be stored in fridges and administered to large numbers of people on a daily basis.”

TVBC will also be providing free parking at West Street Car Park, located next to the Leisure Centre and a short walk from The Lights, to those being vaccinated. Free parking permits will also be provided to those acting as volunteer stewards at the theatre.

To support stewards, the council has provided a grant of £10,000 to Unity to recruit and manage a network of volunteer stewards. This follows a grant of £6,000 made by Andover Town Council to the organisation earlier this week.

No date has yet been announced for the start of the local vaccination programme, which Cllr North says is “dependent upon the availability of vaccine.”

At present, the first phase of vaccination is being given to care home residents and their carers. This will subsequently be followed by those over 80, with the age bracket declining by five years as older age groups are vaccinated. Those with underlying health conditions will also be vaccinated during this phase, with other groups, such as those under 50, expected to be vaccinated in future phases.

Those wishing to volunteer as vaccination centre stewards should sign up by clicking here.