Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has hailed the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine in the Tees Valley getting underway as a “momentous day”.
The first vaccine at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough was completed at 7:36am today by the exceptional team at South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
This meant Teesside was one of the first places in the UK where the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine got underway this morning, as the first patient at James Cook received it around an hour after 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person in the UK to receive the vaccine.
Mayor Houchen said: “Today is a momentous day; just 12 months after the discovery of coronavirus and eight months on from the start of the pandemic, jabs of hope are going into people’s arms, which is testament to the hard work and dedication of scientists in the UK and from around the world.
“With this vaccine now being given to local people here in the Tees Valley we can definitely say there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we must not let our guard down because of this news.
“I know we all want to get back to normal as soon as possible; we want to see our family, spend time with friends and hug our loved ones, but it is going to take time before the majority of people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool receive the vaccine, with those aged over 80 and the most vulnerable to the deadly virus rightly getting it first.
“Until the wider roll out of the vaccine we must all continue to follow the rules - this means wearing a face covering, keeping a safe distance from each other and regularly washing our hands.
“People and businesses have made huge sacrifices throughout this pandemic and local communities have pulled together like never before and it has been heartening to see the level of community spirit, creating light during one of our darkest periods.
“Teesside has had its fair share of knocks and this pandemic has been one of the heaviest we have received, but we always come back stronger because our comeback is always bigger than the setback.”