THE first York patients to be given the Covid vaccine have told of their delight - as other residents look forward to getting their delayed jabs this week.

The new covid vaccination site at Askham Bar, York, is to open today - with plans to begin vaccinations today or tomorrow. 

The first man to receive the vaccine last week was 82-year-old Gordon Short, who said: “I was really pleased – I really would have been happy to postpone it and offer it to someone else.

“I’ve only just received the appointment so here I am. My daughter will be delighted!”

The first couple to attend an appointment was Eileen and Kenneth Ward from Copmanthorpe, aged 85 and 93 respectively.

“I was so pleased when I got the letter, as I just thought this might be the end to being isolated,” said Eileen. “We’re still going to be careful though.”

She said that throughout the pandemic, they had only spoken to their daughter though the window and had decided to keep away from family over Christmas too. “We’ll wait until we can celebrate after,” she said.

Dr Daniel Kimberling, GP Partner and Clinical Lead at Haxby Group, said the practice was proud to be playing its part in the NHS vaccination programme, working on behalf of GP practices in York to help protect people from the virus.

A spokesperson said that as more supplies of the vaccine were received, the programme would be rolled out to other sites and other groups, including frontline health and care staff.

A drive-through vaccination centre is set to open today at the second attempt on the former Askham Bar Park&Ride site off Moor Lane, York.

The centre was due to launch last week but sources said appointments had to be cancelled because the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had not arrived.

Jan and Bob Summers, both aged 82, were disappointed when they received a phone call to tell them not to turn up then.

They had hoped the first of two jabs would give them some limited protection when they meet family at Christmas.

But the couple said on Friday they were delighted after being given fresh appointments to attend tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Dr Nigel Wells, clinical chair of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I’m delighted that York has been one of the first areas to play a role in the UK wide vaccination programme, but it’s just the start of a process that will likely take several months.

“The first few days have been very successful, with patients commenting on how well organised clinics are and how amazing the clinical staff have been.

“Understandably patients are enthusiastic to have the Covid vaccine, but it’s important those at most risk from coronavirus are vaccinated first.

“That is why the NHS is asking patients to not contact their local GP practice or local hospital to ask for an appointment for a vaccination and to please not turn up at your surgery or hospital – the NHS is proactively contacting individuals as part of the vaccination programme and nobody will miss out.”

The spokesperson said the Covid-19 vaccination programme was the largest vaccination programme in the NHS’ 72-year history.