A NEW Covid-19 vaccination centre is launching in Andover in the next few weeks to enable more people to have the vaccine in the area.

A new hospital hub is due to launch soon at Andover War Memorial Hospital, which will be used alongside The Lights Theatre, which has been in use since December 22.

The new hub will join the network of local vaccination centres and hospital hubs already in operation in the region.

This includes Basingstoke Fire Station, which will be used as a new hub alongside Hampshire Court Hotel and Basingstoke hospital.

Initially, vaccinations will be offered to people in line with recommendations from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), with the NHS contacting people when it is their turn.

People will need an appointment to receive the vaccine, with most invited through a letter from their GP practice or the national programme.

Dr Dan Baylis, chief medical officer at Solent NHS Trust, which is running the vaccination centres, said: "We are proud that Solent NHS Trust has been asked to support the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“Coronavirus has been the single biggest public health emergency in NHS history, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who was involved in setting up the vaccination centres across the county and on the island.

“This continues to be such a challenging time for NHS colleagues, and it is testament to the hard work of everyone across the NHS that we are able to deliver this at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care.”

Doctor Uma Rani Padmanabhi, who works for Solent NHS Trust’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), was one of the first people in the Trust to receive the vaccine.

She said: “The past year has been such an incredibly difficult time for everyone, particularly for those working across the frontline of the NHS – but getting the vaccine really does give us all a sense of hope and optimism that this may be the beginning of the road to normality.

“I would strongly encourage everyone to take the opportunity to receive the vaccine when it is available to them.”