By Alex Metcalfe LDRS
Health chiefs have hailed a “momentous day” as the first covid vaccine was administered on Teesside this morning.
The first jab was given at 7.36am at James Cook University Hospital as patients over 80, care workers and NHS staff begin to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The Marton Road site is being used as a “hospital hub” for the roll-out of jabs – putting it among the first in the world to start administering vaccines.
Alan Downey, chairman of the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust board, confirmed James Cook was being used as one of the first hubs on Monday evening.
And he revealed the memorable moment when the first jab was given on Tuesday (December 8).
“A huge logistical effort and a fantastic achievement by a wonderful team at South Tees – awesome!”
Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first person in the UK to receive the jab at 6.31am in Coventry as part of the mass vaccination roll-out.
It was revealed James Cook would be used as a hub last week after concerns the nearest site for vaccines would be more than 50 miles away on Tyneside.
Staff had been preparing before the sun had risen on Teesside for the work ahead.
A spokesman for South Tees NHS trust said: “Before first light this morning, our amazing team was eagerly awaiting the first patients, care home workers and staff who will be among the first in the world to receive their jab.
“The entire process has been designed by our clinicians and when the first people arrived for their vaccines, it went into operation like a well-oiled machine.
“It’s been a tremendous effort by everyone involved to get to this stage and this momentous day.”
It is understood vaccination centres across the country have been lined up in conference centres, sporting venues and similar sites to ensure better access to jabs during the roll out in the coming months.
NHS bosses say most vaccinations will take place in January through to March or April.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation revealed their priority list last month and the vaccine will be given to residents in care homes for older adults and their carers, followed by people aged 80 and over and front-line health workers, before working down the list of age grounds.