A couple in their 80s made history yesterday afternoon (Monday) when they became the first patients in Wolverhampton to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Joan and John Dudley, 80 and 81 respectively, had their first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Wood Road Surgery in Tettenhall Wood. They will return in 3 weeks’ time for their second doses and will develop full immunity a week later.

Joan said: "You are a bit nervous but it's not painful at all, I didn't even realise it was being done." John added: "It's a personal choice, but I would urge everyone in Wolverhampton to have the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as they are able to." 

People aged 80 and above are among the first to be eligible for the vaccine, which is being delivered from 5 locations across the Black Country and West Birmingham. 

The vaccine will be rolled out to other groups over the coming months, initially to those deemed to be at greatest risk of Covid-19 because of age or underlying health conditions, and then to the wider population. More GP vaccination services will be established over the coming weeks as well as larger vaccine centres in the new year.

The start of vaccinations has been warmly welcomed by health chiefs in Wolverhampton who say that it marks the light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against Covid-19 – but they warn that people must still continue to do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus.

Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health John Denley said: "The start of the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine in Wolverhampton is a really exciting moment for us all.

"We had a steady flow of patients to the vaccination clinic in Tettenhall Wood yesterday afternoon, and those who came along were very pleased to be among the first in our city to have the jab.

"We're working hard to ensure that we can roll this out as quickly and efficiently as possible in partnership with our NHS colleagues and it is really important that, when you are invited to get the vaccine, you take up that offer."

Dr Salma Reehana, Clinical Chair of the Governing Body, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We have been waiting for this day for a very long time and if we can get the uptake that we really want then I think we can win this war. 

"The vaccine is a fantastic opportunity to restore a degree of normality, for families and friends to reconnect and for the country to get back on its feet.

"We will be in touch with those eligible for a vaccine as soon as we have appointments available – there’s no need for people to contact their pharmacy or GP – and I'd encourage people to step forward when they’re asked to do so because this is our opportunity to protect ourselves and each other.”

Mr Denley added: "While the arrival of the vaccine is something that we should all celebrate, we cannot be complacent. It's going to take some time to make it widely available and, in the meantime, we all need to carry on doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our families and friends safe by following the Hands, Face, Space guidelines and abiding by the Tier 3 guidelines.

"You must of course get a Covid-19 test if you develop symptoms of the virus, and we're also encouraging everyone in the city to get a lateral flow test, the rapid test which you can do without symptoms to see whether you are carrying the virus or not - this is important because we know that 1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 don't have any symptoms. 

"Make no mistake, the arrival of the vaccine is a key moment for the city – but there's still a long way to go in our fight against Covid-19."

Latest data shows there were 263.36 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 12 December. That means 690 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. To book a test, visit GOV.UK or call 119. People can get tested within 8 days of developing symptoms. 

Rapid testing for people without symptoms is available at the Civic Centre between 8am and 7pm weekdays and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. No appointment is necessary, and results are available within an hour. Free short stay parking is available at St Peter’s Car Park off Wulfruna Street for people attending the Civic Centre for a test. Please note, the Civic Centre is open for rapid testing only.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Further details of the Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.