THE speedy rollout of the coronavirus vaccination programme is a beaming light in an otherwise dark time, according to north Essex residents who have received their jabs.

Latest figures from NHS England show more than 1.3million vaccines have now been administered in the East of England, as of February 11.

This has been helped by the opening of mass vaccinations centres at the likes of Clacton Hospital and the JobServe Community Stadium in Colchester.

The Tendring Centre in Clacton, and Colchester Hospital have also been offering the vital jabs.

Care worker Gemma East, 43, from Clacton, received her first dose of the vaccine at Colchester Hospital.

Speaking about the experience she said: “It was brilliant, the staff were lovely, and it was very well organised.

“I was in and out within just 25 minutes.

“Having lost two people I know to coronavirus it feels amazing to be a step closer to beating it.

“I’m now looking forward to my next jab.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The opening of Clacton Hospital as a mass vaccination centre was initially delayed a result of Storm Darcy and the heavy snowfall.

It is now up and running and contributing to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michael Hillman, 74, from Clacton, received his jab at the complex last Friday.

He said: “It was an absolutely great service, I had no problems and I would recommend it to everyone. It feels great to have had it done, I didn’t even feel it - I am really pleased.

Michelle Burford, 41, also had her first dose of the vaccine at Clacton Hospital.

Her eight-year-old daughter is battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

She said: “It was a very friendly and safe service.

“It feels great to have had the vaccine - anything to protect my daughter.”

One 65-year-old woman from Clacton, whose husband is vulnerable, said she was beyond overwhelmed after getting her vaccine at the hospital.

Speaking anonymously she said: “It was perfect, the staff were generally very helpful, and the process was very smooth.

“It was sheer relief and I could have cried I was so happy.”

The Fryatt Hospital, in Dovercourt, has also been administering vaccines.

Liz Bartholomew, 49, is a headteacher at the Mayflower Primary School, in Harwich.

She is asthmatic and had her initial vaccine alongside her 54-year-old husband at the Fryatt Hospital.

“It was great, really well organised and a smooth process from start to finish,” she said.

“My husband is needle phobic, but they were so patient with him and he was reassured throughout.

“They let me stay with him the whole time and did our jabs together. It was completely professional and at the same time caring and considerate."

“I’m still confused as to why we got it so soon and we feel like frauds but I certainly didn’t want to say no.”

Kirstie-Jayne Moss, 25, frequently sees an endocrinologist at Colchester Hospital, where she has just had her vaccine.

“I was a bit shocked because I wasn’t aware, I was eligible for it so quickly,” she said.

“But I feel like I am now one step closer to being able to see my family.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

David Drysdale, 68, had his vaccine at Fryatt Hospital last Saturday.

“It was really good and very well organised with lots of volunteers to guide you,” he said.

“It felt like a tiny scratch and was over very quickly. 

“That night and the next my arm was a little sore, but not enough to worry about, and I had no other side effects.”

Mr Drysdale, who is retired, is now looking forward to going shopping for the first time in months and hopefully holidaying abroad.

He added: “Im relieved to have had it and I count myself fortunate.

“I am looking forward to enough people being vaccinated so that infection rates drop and we can go back to having shops and places like hairdressers open.  

“I haven’t been in a shop for a year - my wife takes that risk for us.

“I am hoping for a holiday in Spain this year.”

Latest figures show there have now been 1,127 deaths of Covid patients at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust and 23 at Clacton Hospital and 31 at the Fryatt Hospital

In Tendring there has been 9,329 people cases and the infection rate is currently 182.9 after 268 new cases were recorded in the week to February 11.

There has now been 10,535 positive coronavirus cases in Colchester since the start of the pandemic and the current infection rate is 101.2 per 100,000.