Andover residents took up the call to ‘grab a jab’ on Saturday (July 17) as walk-in vaccinations were held at The Lights.

Those heading down could bask in the sunshine as they waited outside following their injections, with people of all ages coming down to protect themselves against Covid at the clinic.

Appointments were open to anyone in the area, even if they weren’t registered with a GP yet. One of these people was Simon Binsley, who visited the centre with his mother Sharon. He said the vaccine had been “good” and that he was “feeling fine” afterwards.

“He’s just come to the area,” Sharon said, “and it’s important to get them in quick and get him safe, so I nagged him and here we are!”

Giving out the vaccinations were a team of skilled medics, including Alison Needham, who had come out of retirement to support the vaccine drive.

“A few of us came out of retirement,” she said. “I left in 2017, so I’ve had to do update training to do it but quite a few of us came back. Since starting in December, I’ve been coming in for a couple of shifts a week and will continue to do so for as long as I’m needed.

“It’s been a really positive experience, very well-organised, and the volunteers have done a great job.”

One of these volunteers was Caroline Brown, who said it has been “an amazing experience”.

She said: “Lockdown wasn’t great. I work in a school and in lockdown I was furloughed so I needed something to do and saw they were advertising for vaccine volunteers, so I decided to apply.”

Caroline said that different age groups have all been good to work with, responding in different ways.

“Old people have all been so grateful,” she said. “They love having someone to talk too, and it’s a lovely feeling as many hadn’t been out of their house because of Covid until they got their jab.

“Now it’s different and the youngsters as just as happy, and we see some come out dancing and relieved.”

She plans to keep volunteering now the school holidays are coming, to ensure everyone gets protected.

“I want to see it through to the end,” she said. “It’s been amazing, it’s really good fun and we work together well. I’d recommend more people come and volunteer.”

Ben Sharpe, the clinical lead for The Lights vaccination hub, said that he hoped the drop-in would help protect even more people.

“It’s been good to get engagement with people who might struggle with weekday appointments,” he said, “and I hope it will get them protected. It’s started off pretty busy, and we have seen a whole range of people, predominantly younger but a whole mixture of ages.”

He said they would now go away and look at the data to see if the drop-in has made an impact on reaching hard to access groups, and will “certainly consider” a future clinic.