AS WELL as vulnerable members of the public, the vaccine was also administered yesterday to care home and hospital staff.

One of the first care home staff to get the vaccine was Caroline Kennedy, who works at the Gables Care Home in Whitehaven. She said: “I am excited that we are the first people to get this vaccine, it is so important, especially as I work in in residential care.

“I need to protect myself in order to protect my service users.

“The hope is that we can have residents’ families in and we can get back to some sort of normality.

“It is so needed because our service users are so down at the moment not seeing families and to have this vaccine here and being rolled out is fantastic.

“I didn’t have any nervousness getting the vaccine, I just felt strongly it was the right thing to do for myself, my family, my colleagues and our residents.”

Another staff member who received the jab yesterday was Mairi Clark, practice development facilitator for falls prevention at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

“Obviously the reason that I wanted to get it was to help prevent further infection in patients and help protect members of staff as well,” she said.

“It was also about wanting to see family again as soon as possible.”

Backing up the sentiments of staff receiving the vaccine was Patricia Bell, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for adult social care.

“This is a really emotional day,” she said.

“Social care staff in our residential homes have had an incredibly tough time over the past 10 months on the frontline of the fight against the virus and they deserve great thanks and praise.

“While there’s still a very long way to go, the start of the vaccination programme means we can see light at the end of the tunnel and that is hugely encouraging.”

A second dose of the vaccine will be required in 21 days.

Appointments will continue through the rest of the week.