AN MP has urged his constituents to follow in the footsteps of a Second World War veteran and get the Covid vaccine.

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, congratulated his constituent, Bernard Knatt, 93, of Iveston in County Durham, who received the Covid-19 vaccine in December and his second injection today, January 5.

Mr Holden and his team had worked with Mr Knatt earlier in the year to successfully help him get information about his wartime records from the Ministry of Defence in London.

Mr Knatt grew up in Rugby in Warwickshire and remembers vividly the Coventry Blitz in 1940. He joined the Fleet Air Arm late in the war, and was on deployment to the Far East when VJ Day occurred.

Mr Knatt was in the first group of people in the North East who received the vaccine, with the Government aiming to inoculate tens of millions in the coming months.

All residents are being offered the vaccination in order or vulnerability, starting with Mr Knatt and the over 90s, and moving down in five year age bands, picking up those with conditions that make them vulnerable.

Over 40,000 people in the North East have now had their first dose of the vaccine as part of over 800,000 across the UK.

The new Astra-Zeneca/Oxford vaccine is being rolled out nationwide with over half a million doses being distributed across the country for distribution from Monday.

Mr Knatt said: “I am extremely glad to have had the vaccine. My arm felt a little stiff just afterwards, but I had no problems and am very keen to get the second jab in order to guarantee my immunity against this dreadful virus.

“I also would like to thank Richard and his team for his help with my war records and for raising this with the M.O.D. It is seventy-five years now since the war, but it is still a clear memory”.

Mr Holden, MP for North West Durham, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone in County Durham, because of the public health situation.

"However, the vaccine we heard about in November is now being developed is now starting to have a practical impact as people like Bernard receive it.

“I am really delighted that Bernard has had his first vaccine and will soon be able to get the full protection he needs.

"I would encourage everyone to get the vaccine when they are able to, in order that they protect their health as well as those of their family and friends.”