Nottinghamshire is on track to meet a Government deadline of offering a Coronavirus vaccination to all over-70s in the city and county by mid-February.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the deadline to offer first jabs to the the top four priority groups across the country, in a step seen as crucial to minimising further loss of life and ending restrictions.
In Nottinghamshire, several mass vaccination centres have been set up in the space of weeks and GPs and other healthcare professionals are also delivering tens of thousands of first doses. This means the county is expected to meet the target by Sunday.
The University of Nottingham’s Kings Meadow Campus is home to one of the centres and opened its doors to over-65s this week.
Stephen Davies, 69, received his jab after almost a year of not seeing his family. He said: “It was great from beginning to end, I couldn’t fault it.
“It means I’ll soon be able to see my son. The grandchildren will feel safe now to mix again.”
The vaccination centre is in a former ITV studio, now part of the university, where programmes like Supermarket Sweep were once filmed. It’s now being used to vaccinate around 1,000 people every day.
Site Manager Thomas Evans said: “It feels really good to see that we’re coming down those cohorts of people in our community.
“It shows we’re making good headway and we’re starting to get through the population.”
So far, more than 14,000 people from the first four priority groups have been vaccinated at the site since the middle of January.
They include over-70s, care home residents and staff, health care workers and those classed as clinically vulnerable.
Medical student George Budden, 21, became a vaccinator earlier this year.
He said: “I was really frustrated last March when I wanted to help out but wasn’t able to.
“It’s really exciting to feel like I’m part of the solution.”
As phase one of the vaccination programme comes to an end, Thomas is feeling positive.
He said: “There are days where we have little niggles, but we respond and see how we can do things differently to improve.
“We’re continuing to engage with communities to encourage people to come to their vaccine.”
People in Nottinghamshire aged 65 or over are now being invited for their Covid-19 vaccination.
All of the vaccines being used require two doses to be fully effective – given weeks apart – but one dose is considered to be effective enough to make a big difference to people’s resistance to the virus.
Nottinghamshire’s vaccination programme started later than in some other areas but capacity has increased rapidly to enable it to meet the deadline.
More information about how the programme is being carried out, and who qualifies when, is available on the NHS website.