PATIENTS have been forced to wait hours to receive their Covid jab as Darlington's vaccine centre was hit by large queues on Wednesday. 

Queues were reported throughout Darlington Arena as hundreds of locals visited for their first and second vaccinations.

One person told The Northern Echo they arrived on Wednesday for their appointment scheduled for 10:50am only to discover a huge line winding through the stadium. 

They said staff told patients on arrival the current wait time for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab would be 40 minutes while the queue for the Pfizer jab would be one hour 15 minutes. 

However the patient had still not been vaccinated by 12.30pm. 

They said staff were reported to be 'working through their lunch' in order to vaccinate the queues of people. 

Read more: Frustrations over the NHS Covid vaccine booking system in the North-East

But the NHS praised the work of staff at the centre after experiencing an increase in appointments.

A spokeswoman for the North East and North Cumbria vaccination programme said: “Our NHS staff and volunteers continue to work flat out to vaccinate those who are eligible and it is a testament to their hard work that so many younger people are already taking up the offer of a jab as we opened up to people aged 25-29.

“Darlington Arena Vaccination Centre is vaccinating up to 1,100 people a day – we are grateful for the public’s support in ensuring everyone gets vital protection from coronavirus.”

Councillor Kevin Nicholson, cabinet member for Health and Housing, said the reports of large queues were ‘out of character’ and said locals should not to be deterred by the delays.

“It’s never great when people have to wait to get their vaccine but thankfully it’s very rare that it happens,” he said.