Five North-East and Yorkshire hospitals will begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus tomorrow as the biggest immunisation programme in history gets underway.

A total of 50 hospital hubs across the UK will be carrying out the first wave of the vaccine programme, including Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals, South Tees, Hull University Teaching Hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The beginning of the vaccination rollout for Covid-19 could mark “a decisive turning point in the battle” against the virus, the chief executive of NHS England has said.

People aged 80 and older, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk are at the front of the queue for the jabs.

Covid-19 vaccine programme in England: 50 hospital hubs in first wave.(PA Graphics)

Speaking just hours before the vaccine rollout begins, Sir Simon Stevens said: “Tomorrow is the beginning of the biggest vaccination campaign in our history, building on successes from previous campaigns against conditions: diseases like polio, meningitis, and tuberculosis.

“Hospitals, and then GPs and pharmacists as more vaccine becomes available, are going to be vaccinating at least until next spring.

“So in the meantime, we’re going to have to continue to be very careful. But if we do that I think there’s every chance that we will look back on tomorrow as marking a decisive turning point in the battle against coronavirus.”

He said there is “every prospect” that by next spring the high-risk vulnerable groups, as identified by the medical experts, will all have been vaccinated.

(PA Graphics)(PA Graphics)

Sir Simon said he is confident that vaccinations can begin to be offered in care homes “well before Christmas”.

But he cautioned that it will take “some weeks and months as vaccine supply becomes available for GPs and hospitals and pharmacists to reach all of the most vulnerable”.

Croydon University Hospital in south London was one of the first hospitals to take delivery of the vaccine over the weekend, with similar scenes unfolding around the country ahead of the rollout.