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A Shot In The Arm: Empty Retail Units Could Be Used For Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution


There is a new potential occupier of vacant retail properties in London: the NHS, which is looking at venues like shopping centres and retail parks as potential locations for administering coronavirus vaccines once they are approved.

The NHS is looking for an initial 46 locations to serve as vaccine centres, Estates Gazette reported. That number is likely to grow to 300 in early 2021 and eventually reach 700, the paper said. 

Westfield Stratford City shopping centre has been discussed as one of the first potential locations, EG reported, based on minutes of a meeting of Havering London Borough Council. Derby Arena is another potential location, according to Derby City Council. 

Spaces of between 3K SF and 20K SF are being considered, with spaces needing to be accessible and have good broadband connectivity. The need for refrigerated units on-site means retail parks are considered a good option. 

EG said the spaces taken would likely be provided free of cost by landlords, with the NHS just paying business rates. The spaces could be used for up to a year. 

Other leisure venues, sports centres, museums and sports arenas are also being considered.