COVID-19 vaccinations are continuing apace in Darlington and The Northern Echo went behind scenes at the centre at Feethams House in the town centre.

The Darlington Primary Care Network (PCN) rolled out its vaccination programme in the town in early January and the site at Feethams House is a key element in getting the most vulnerable residents protected.

All residents living in Darlington's care homes have now been offered a vaccination, the PCN has said, with more than 900 jabs administered.

And in the first week of the Feethams centre operating as a vaccination site, more than 600 people were given their first dose of the vaccines.

Kirsty Walker is a GP at the Neasham Road Surgery in Darlington and is one of the leads at the Feethams vaccination site.

She described what people can expect when invited to Feethams to receive either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Walker explained that patients are seen by volunteer marshals when they first arrive before being guided to register their attendance at the front desk.

After being directed to the waiting area they are then given a QR code for their mobile phone if it is necessary for clinicians to access the patient’s medical details.

This enables medical staff to make some important checks about any medication that people receiving the vaccine are currently taking.

Dr Walker said it is particularly important to check whether patients are taking Warfarin to make sure their blood thinning is at the right level to receive the vaccine.

Dr Walker continued: “They will then go into one of three vaccination tents where they meet a vaccinator and there will also be a person who is doing some admin who will take all your details and you’ll go through the consent process.

“And as long as you are fit and healthy on the day and don’t have any contrary indications, we would give you the vaccine.

“If you’re having the Pfizer vaccine we need to keep you for a 15-minute observation period afterwards and that’s held past the tents in an observation area.

"And if you are having the AstraZeneca vaccine we don’t need to have that so it would just be a quick vaccination and then homeward bound.

“So it’s quite a quick process once you’re in and it shouldn’t take more than half an hour once you’re in.”

Residents should not attend the centre without an appointment.

GP services are contacting people to let them know when they are due to receive the vaccine.