All over 80s in Copeland are expected to have had their covid jabs by the end of the week.

That means that the vaccines for the next cohort group, the over 70s, should be rolled out in the near future.

However the good news has come with a heartfelt plea from Dr Eve Miles, the lead GP for Copeland Primary Care.She has asked people not to ring surgeries trying to book Covid vaccination appointments: "t would really help your local practice if you don’t call. We can’t book you in for the jab, you will be contacted when it is your turn. That would help our teams enormously."

The Copeland Primary Care Network, made up of all the GP practices in Copeland working together and like most areas will be through their over 80s by the end of the week and moving on to the next cohort group.

A spokesman for the NHS Cumbria CCG said: "As you’ll appreciate the vaccine roll-out is highly complex but our primary care teams are working very hard to deliver the vaccine to their most vulnerable patients and maintain their usual general practice services.W

Dr Miles said: “We have made great progress with reaching our patients who are over 80.

"Our practice teams have worked astonishingly hard to deliver the vaccine. A real team effort from our GPs, nurses, pharmacists, healthcare assistants, administration teams and volunteers has enabled us to make great progress. We know how happy and excited our patients are when they get their jab, it is brilliant."

The West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven was one of the first to begin offering the jab in early December.

It was one of 50 hospitals across the country to begin using the new Pfizer vaccine for the first time yesterday.

Among the historic group of vaccine pioneers last December was 80-year-old Agnes Hardy, from Kells in Whitehaven.

She was the first of the West Cumberland Hospital's patients to be given the vaccine.

As one of the many who have spent most of 2020 shielding, she said receiving the vaccine brought her a "step closer" to seeing her family again.