MASS vaccination against Covid is becoming more and more realistic as the vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, working with German biotech company BioNTech, has been approved for use.

This means thousands in the North-East and across the country could be vaccinated, starting with the vulnerable and those working on the front line as early as next week.

North-East MPs have welcomed the news, hailing it as "a momentous day" with "incredible news".

The Northern Echo readers are split on whether they would get vaccinated, with some saying they would be first in line and others at the back of the queue, apprehensive about any side effects. 

But regional politicians are not so devided.

Darlington MP Peter Gibson welcomed the news.

Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, calling the day "momentous", praised scientists for the vaccine's rapid development.

He said: “Today’s news that a Covid vaccine is ready to be rolled out from next week is hugely positive. Being able to start immunising the most vulnerable and key health and care workers first is a priority.

“The fact we have a vaccine ready to use is testament to the dedication and determination of scientists and medics across the world.

“While this is obviously a momentous day in the fight against this pandemic, I would urge everyone to remain vigilant against Covid and keep social distancing and sanitising. We cannot drop our guard now.”

​Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison also commended the scientists, researchers and volunteers who "helped make this happen".

Writing on Twitter, she said: "The UK is leading the way! It has been a long and difficult year, but we are finally ready to start vaccinating next week.

"Incredible news. An enormous thank you to @MattHancock and team, and to all the scientists, researchers, and volunteers who helped make this happen."

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, has heralded the news as a game-changer.

He said: "This is quite simply, huge. After what has been one of the most difficult years in most of our lives, we stand now at the beginning of the end.

"The work of the MHRA in getting this vaccine approved for rollout ahead of any other country in the world is a testament to the agency and will come as incredibly welcome news to the entire nation.

"So far the UK has already ordered 40m doses - enough to vaccinate 20m people.

"I understand that the first 800,000 doses are due to arrive in the UK in the coming days allowing for the most vulnerable in our society to receive the vaccine potentially within days.

"Getting the vaccine out to the wider population will of course be a lengthy process involving thousands of people and logistics on a national scale.

"But with the UK having led Europe in our testing capability, I have every confidence that the rollout of this vaccine across the nation will be achieved with efficiency and at pace.

"Once rollout begins, we can look forward in the coming months to seeing the number of cases begin to fall significantly. 

"At that point, the grip of restrictions - which have affected all our lives - can begin to be loosened and we can get back on with living our lives.

"The significance of this news cannot be overstated. It represents a massive shift towards reclaiming our lives and reopening the economy.

"We're not out of the woods just yet, but we can see the light between the trees."

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton South who voted against the tougher tier system yesterday, said it is "great news" and reiterated the Health Secretary's message that help is on its way.