A COVID-19 vaccination centre is now operational at Airedale Hospital.

It is offering the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine to hospital staff and other health and social care workers in the district.

The vaccine, like its Pfizer counterpart, is provided in two doses – 12 weeks apart.

Vicky Pickles, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust’s director of corporate affairs and the lead for the vaccination centre, said: “It’s fantastic that our vaccination centre is operational and that we are able to offer the vaccine to our teams, as well as to staff from local health and care partners.

“We have given almost 1,500 vaccines in the first week – which is amazing – and we are set to do many more over the next few weeks. The more people we can vaccinate, the more we can prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep people safe.

“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of our vaccination team, which has made this possible – it includes clinical and nursing colleagues, pharmacy, estates, IT, procurement, human resources and communications. Everyone pulled together to get our centre up and running. I would also like to thank our incredible vaccinators, prescribers and admin teams who keep the centre running smoothly and deliver that all-important injection.”

She added: “I would urge members of the public to take-up their Covid-19 vaccination when they’re invited to do so. Meantime, please make sure you observe the restrictions, follow social distancing guidelines and help stop the spread of this indiscriminate virus.”

Among the first Airedale Hospital staff to be vaccinated was Dr Richard Keeble, consultant and clinical director in the Emergency Department.

He said: “This has been something I’ve been looking forward to – to protect my patients, my colleagues and my family.”

Administering the vaccination was senior dietician Laura Rowe.

She said: “It’s important to me to be involved with the vaccination programme, as it’s our way forward with Covid – a light at the end of the tunnel to get us out of this situation.”