MORE than 60 per cent of residents in Darlington have had their first covid vaccine.

After this week, 57,124 of 93,026 residents aged 16 or over have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, equating to exactly 61.4 per cent of possible eligible residents.

This places the town's vaccination programme higher than the current average for England which is 54.5 per cent.

The news comes as the NHS has started extending invites to people aged 42 and over.

As of today, anyone over 40 or over 16 with a long-term health condition is now eligible for the vaccine.

20,488 of residents in Darlington have had their second vaccine meaning 35.8 per cent are fully vaccinated, 6.9 per cent above the current average for England.

Penny Spring, director of public health at Darlington Borough Council, said: "It is fantastic news that more than 60% of Darlington residents who will be offered the jab have had their first dose.

“The town’s vaccination programme has very much been a borough-wide effort, with volunteers from all of our communities coming together to support the NHS.

“Everyone who has accepted the offer of the vaccine has taken an essential step towards getting back to a more normal way of life – which means spending more time with families, friends and loved ones.

“Please take up the offer of the vaccine when you are eligible and return for your second dose when you are contacted. It is essential to have both doses to protect yourself and our communities as best as we possibly can.”