The new centre opened on Friday at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre, joining the two existing centres which have been providing the jab at Flagg Court in South Shields and The Glen in Hebburn since December.

Matt Brown, Executive Director of Operations at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, was among the helpers on the centre’s first day of work. He said: “It’s such a good feeling – the team are working unbelievably hard and people are so happy to get their vaccine.

“The process flows so well and a lot of people remarked on how smoothly it is working. Each of our centres is now vaccinating one person every 90 seconds throughout the day, but still finding the time to help older people through the process.

“We are hoping to give the first dose to all our over-80s within the next week or so, except where there are medical reasons why they can’t have one right now.

“We’re also making great progress in care homes, with first doses complete in all but three of our local homes.

“Our colleagues at the hospital trust are working fast to give the jab to frontline healthcare staff, and we are aiming to vaccinate all social care workers at local centres over the next two weeks.

“Now that we have supplies of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is easier to transport, we are planning to reach people who are housebound over the next few weeks.

“Some people will also receive invitations to the mass vaccination centre at the Centre for Life in Newcastle, but you can still choose to attend the vaccine centre in your local area if that is more suitable for your needs.

“Overall, South Tyneside is well placed to reach the top four priority groups by mid-February, which is great news.”

Every area in the country is providing the vaccine in line with strict national guidelines for priority groups:

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. All those 75 years of age and over
  4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. All those 65 years of age and over
  6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. All those 60 years of age and over
  8. All those 55 years of age and over
  9. All those 50 years of age and over

Matt Brown added: “It’s so exciting to see this level of progress locally, but we still need everyone to help us by social distancing, wearing face masks and washing hands regularly.”

See the Covid vaccination Q&A list that has been drawn up by local health chiefs here: