Hundreds of patients have queued up to receive coronavirus jabs at mass vaccination centres which have opened across England.
Lines of patients, many over 80, formed on Monday outside some of the seven sites around the country where nurses prepared to vaccinate thousands at socially distanced tables or cubicles.
The first patient at Epsom racecourse in Surrey was 88-year-old Moira Edwards, who received the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at around 8.15am.
Ms Edwards, from Cobham in Surrey, said: “I had no hesitation at coming forward for my vaccination when it was offered to me.
“I have quite a large family, who all live near me, and feel it is extremely important to protect myself and them.
“Having this vaccine makes it a step closer to being with my family again and giving them a big hug.”
Speaking during a visit to Epsom, Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people to get the vaccine.
He said: “Obviously there are people here, on my team here at Epsom racecourse, who have gone to come out to give the vaccines and people have got to come get the vaccines.”
Mr Hancock said “supply is the rate-limiting factor”, but added that the UK has “one of the biggest supplies in the world including the home-made Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine”.
Great-grandfather Nana Kwabena Edusei, 81, was the first member of the public to be jabbed at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, which will be able to vaccinate eight patients every five minutes.
Mr Edusei, a retired manager with Associated British Foods, said after his experience: “It was not a problem at all.
“They asked me a few questions about my health, I signed a form, everything went smoothly, I didn’t feel the injection at all.”
Sue Jones, 57, who works for North Bristol NHS Trust, received her Covid-19 vaccination at Ashton Gate Stadium.
She said: “It is a game-changer and will change people’s lives, although it will obviously take time.”
Keith Garwood, an 80-year-old retired insurance claims manager from Ampthill in Bedfordshire, was injected in Stevenage after spending months in isolation.
He said: “As a logistical exercise, it’s been done extremely well. And the care, of course, with the NHS is excellent.”
The Millennium Point centre in Birmingham could soon be vaccinating more than 2,500 people per day once it gets up to speed, according to Dr Peter Ingham, a retired GP now working on the Covid vaccination rollout in the Midlands.
He added: “We’ve offered appointments today and about 80% are over-80s, and 20% are healthcare staff.
“Hopefully by next week it will be well over 2,500 people a day – but we want to increase that.
“If we can stand it up even further, then we want to push that.”
The other two sites are at the ExCel Centre, where London’s Nightingale hospital is based, and the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said supply was the “rate-limiting factor” in how quickly the vaccines can be rolled out.
He said: “Every week we are getting more supply, but of course these are new vaccines, manufacturers are stepping up their manufacturing processes… we are confident that as long as we get the supplies then we’ll be able to jab the people who need the vaccine.”
He said the NHS staff working on the programme have been boosted by 80,000 vaccine volunteers.
The International Centre for Life has significant ventilation as a conference centre to provide air change. All staff are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and all patients are wearing masks.It’s one metre for social distancing inside when everyone is wearing PPE
— Newcastle Hospitals (@NewcastleHosps) January 11, 2021
Meanwhile hospital bosses in Newcastle moved to reassure people the vaccine hub at the Centre for Life was safe.
After photos of the hub were shared online some people expressed concerns on social media about distancing between chairs in a waiting area and the ventilation system at the city centre venue.
The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tweeted: “The International Centre for Life has significant ventilation as a conference centre to provide air change.
“All staff are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and all patients are wearing masks.
“It’s one metre for social distancing inside when everyone is wearing PPE.”