THE first patients in Pickering have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Pickering Medical Practice will be acting as a primary care hub and will be vaccinating eligible patients from its own practice and those registered at Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley and Terrington practices.

Kirstie Vincer, nurse manager at Pickering Medical Practice, said: "Everyone is fantastically excited to be able to begin vaccinating.

"It's taken an effort like none of us have ever experienced and it's only been possible because of the collective energy of colleagues within our Primary Care Network and an army of volunteers.

“We are all set up and ready to vaccinate people efficiently and safely. It’s incredibly exciting knowing that we will be one of the first GP practices to provide the vaccine.

“We are extremely grateful to our colleagues at the CCG, Ryedale District Council and the Pickering Volunteer Network who have provided unfailing support.”

GP practices have been working closely together in local groups known as Primary Care Networks (PCNs) with vaccination sites providing the vaccine to patients across a number of member practices – not just those on their own surgery list. People in the ‘at risk’ priority groups will be contacted to make an appointment no matter which practice they are registered with.

Following the go live of the first GP practice vaccination sites this week, the local NHS is working with PCNs to mobilise additional large and small community sites over the coming weeks and months.

Dr Nigel Wells, clinical chairperson of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “People are understandably eager to get vaccinated and colleagues in local NHS services will contact you when it is time for you to get your jab – please don’t contact your practice, eligible patients will be invited for the vaccination by their practice.

“The vaccine is really great news and a cause for optimism but there is still a long way to go. We can’t afford to be complacent; this is a going to be a huge task and we would like to urge local people to bear with us and to be patient.

“The best thing we can all do to protect ourselves, our families and our communities is to keep following the guidance; wash your hands, cover your face, and make space.”

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been planned extensively by the NHS so it can be rolled out as quickly and safely as possible. This programme of vaccination is the largest in the history of the NHS.

Yesterday, couple Jack and Nina Ashton, from Malton, who have been married for nearly 65 years, were the first to receive the vaccine at Derwent Practice in Norton.

Nina said: “Jack is 87 and I am 83, so we were delighted when we were told we could have the vaccine. We have been sensible and followed the rules, and it will be nice to be able to see our family and get back to normal.”