VOLUNTEERS and medics have been praised for the way they helped a woman with learning difficulties get her first vaccination jab.

Lucie Willis has autism and epilepsy and her parents Helen and Mark were apprehensive about how she would cope with going to York's vaccination centre at Askham Bar.

She had never had an injection outside hospital or her dentist's.

So they made special preparations before the trip.

Helen said: “I had taken some pictures when I'd had my jab done to help prepare her, but it was still very different to what she is used to."

On the day the centre's staff played their part.

“We were guided to our parking spot and immediately told to follow the blue squares to the Portacabin," said Helen. "Inside the staff were exceptionally friendly and directed their questions to both me and Lucie, which was nice.

“They were very understanding about Lucie having two carers with her in case of a seizure and offered us a quiet space to wait, if needed.

"As there was no queue we went straight to a booth, where the nurse explained to Lucie what they were going to do, putting her at ease and chatting to her toy dog, which always goes down well!

"Lucie was really good and didn't even flinch when she had her jab. She was very pleased with her sticker and, quite rightly, proud of herself for doing so well.”

Helen added: “We would like to say a big thank you to all the staff and volunteers that made it such a stress free experience for us all.”

Lucie's parents hope that their account will reassure others with learning difficulties apprehensive about getting vaccinating, and their families.

People with learning difficulties under 50 years old were added to the list of those eligible for the jab after a campaign about their increased risk from coronavirus.

Autism Awareness Week starts tomorrow and runs until Easter Sunday.