'Just like a flu jab – it didn’t hurt one little bit': Covid vaccines start in South Tyneside

A pensioner who was one of the first people to receive the Covid vaccination in South Tyneside says she hopes it will be “the first step on the road to normality.”

Joan Myers receives her Covid vaccine.
Joan Myers receives her Covid vaccine.

GPs, practice nurses and pharmacists started providing the jab to priority cases in the borough on Wednesday, December 16, after the first supplies of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in the borough.

Great-grandmother Joan Myers was among the first to have the vaccine.

Joan, who was born in South Shields and who raised her family in Marsden with husband Fred, who was a seaman, driver and finally storekeeper at Elsy and Gibbons, has three children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Now the 81-year-old – who said the vaccine was “just lie a flu jab” – says she is looking forward to the day when she can fully enjoy family life again.

Joan, of Harton Village, said: “It was awful the first time round – I never saw anyone except for my sister and my son who were getting the shopping for me.

“There’ll be just three of us for Christmas this year. Normally we’d all book up at a pub for Christmas lunch – my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as my brother and sister. That’s out of the window this year!

“I’m having the vaccine because without it, this would just go on and on.

“I’m fed up with it now! I just want to get back to something like normal as soon as possible. I hope this is the first step on the road to normality!

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“It was fine, just like a flu jab – it didn’t hurt one little bit!”

In South Tyneside, people over 80 will receive the vaccine first, with care home staff and frontline NHS staff also being invited to take up spare appointment slots.

NHS leaders are urging patients to wait for their personal invitation for the vaccine and not to contact busy practices to ask about it. Everyone who receives the Pfizer vaccine will also need a booster jab after 21 days.

Local GP Dr John Lloyd, who is part of the team coordinating the vaccine in South Tyneside said: “As the biggest vaccination programme in our history, this is an immense task for the NHS.”