NEWS of the green light for the second anti-Covid vaccine was welcomed in the region by politicians and volunteers who took part in the trials developing the antidote.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine is the latest fantastic news in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool thousands of people most at risk, along with our amazing NHS workers, have already been vaccinated with more being given the jab every day.
“The approval of the Oxford University vaccine is going to be a game changer because it doesn’t have to be kept at an ultra-low temperature it is easier to transport and store, meaning it can be distributed and administered quicker and easier and in more locations.
“Taken with the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine we now have enough doses of vaccine for everyone in the UK who will need it.
“While the approval of a second vaccine is fantastic news it is critical that everyone across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool continues to follow the rules to stop the spread of the virus – wash your hands, wear a mask and keep your distance from other people.
“If we don’t follow these rules the virus will continue to spread, and we will have to spend even longer in the higher tiers.
“The last nine months have been incredibly difficult for local people, but with two vaccines now approved 2021 can now be a year of hope and recovery.”
One of the volunteers who took part in the Oxford University/AstraZeneca trial is looking forward to receiving her invite to have the jab to discover if she was given the vaccine, itself, or the placebo.
Susan Peacock, from Darlington, said she was, “extremely proud” to have attended the clinical trials department at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for injections and tests as part of the trial process.
“I still don’t know if I received the actual vaccine or the control vaccine (meningitis/sepsis).
The 62-year-old graphic designer for a Newton Aycliffe manufacturing company, said: “I understand I will be unblinded when I am offered a vaccine appointment in the coming weeks.
“I’m guessing at the time frame for being offered the vaccine but hoping, for everyone’s sake, it is early as possible.”
She urged everyone to “keep up the positivity” at this difficult time for many, “so we all have a brighter future.”