COPELAND’S MP proclaimed “this is the light at the end of the tunnel” as the first Cumbrians received a coronavirus vaccine.

The roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine began at the West Cumberland Hospital yesterday and Trudy Harrison said she was delighted the Whitehaven site was one of the first hospitals to receive a consignment of vaccines.

“This is the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said

Mrs Harrison was not surprised that Whitehaven was picked to be one of the first hospitals to receive a consignment of vaccines.

“One of reasons that the West Cumberland is getting the vaccine first is it has the ultra-low storage facility along with first class controls and design of its wards, plus the dedication of its staff,” she explained.

Mrs Harrison thanked those who had helped achieve the roll-out.

She said: “It’s thanks to the scientists who have worked round the clock, along with the military and political leaders who helped us get this to happen..”

Mrs Harrison also has a personal connection with the roll-out of the vaccine.

She said: “My daughter will be one of the ones classed as first in line, as she works as a healthcare worker. Healthcare workers and the over-85s are getting it from yesterday.”

Earlier in the day Mrs Harrison hailed the lowering infection rate in Copeland.

She said: “It’s a huge well done to everyone in Copeland who have today got the lowest stats with a drop of 52 per cent. The rate is 42.5 per 100k as opposed to the rest of Cumbria at 67 per 100k.”

Deborah Earl, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for communities and public health, commented: “It’s wonderful to see people starting to receive the vaccine.

“It really does mark the start of a new phase in the fight against this virus.”

The NHS is asking the public to help ensure the roll-out goes smoothly:

n Don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine. They will contact you;

n When they do contact you, act immediately, and attend your booked appointments;

n Continue to follow all the guidance – hand hygiene and social distancing in particular – to control the virus and save lives.