A second mass vaccination centre aimed at expanding the rollout of the Covid-19 jab has opened in the North East.
Sunderland 's NHS Nightingale Hospital was one of seven built in England to cope with the feared pressures on the NHS from the first Covid-19 wave.
However, despite opening in May last year the hospital has yet to treat a single patient.
The 460-bed site has now followed Newcastle's Centre for Life in being transformed into a mass vaccination centre as the NHS ramps up capacity and the delivery of jabs.
The centre has opened largely for health and social workers, with 750 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine administered on Monday.
Invitations have also been sent to the over-70s who were welcomed for the first time at the site on Tuesday morning for their jab.
One of the first to receive the vaccine was 79-year-old grandmother Leonora Deakin who was accompanied by her husband James, 80.
The retired machinist said it was a feeling of relief to be vaccinated, and that she had been nervous about attending the appointment.
Leonora said: "I just wanted it over with as I want to get back to normality as soon as possible.
"I was nervous and I've been up since 2am. The pandemic is very frightening.
"We're missing our family. We are still in touch over the phone but it's just not the same.
"We do shopping once a week and an odd walk to the beach and that's it at the moment."
The Horden couple will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary in July and they hope they are now a step closer to them being able to mark the milestone in the sun.
"It's our 60th wedding anniversary in July and we're hoping to get to Fuerteventura - where the sun is," Leonora added.
"We need to trust in the medical side of things. I would have been willing to go anywhere or try anything so we can get on with our lives."
Stephanie Gaffney, 30, a social worker at Together for Children, based in Sunderland, said: "To be jabbed myself is such a relief.
"I know people have been dubious but for the sake of seeing families it is really worth it.
"The spike in cases after Christmas has really scared a few people I've spoken to.
"In my job we're seeing families, sometimes on a daily basis, and it's difficult because I have my own family who I have not been able to see.
"This vaccine is protecting myself but also the people around me which is what we all want."
Jennifer Staward, 80, from nearby Whitburn, South Tyneside, praised the way the process was organised.
While she was monitored for 15 minutes by health staff before she was allowed to leave, she said: “The taxi brought me here, dropped me off at the front door, I had my injection and now I'm sitting here.
“That's taken half an hour and I'm just waiting now to be go home now for a cup of coffee.”
The grandmother-of-one, who is a retired bank worker, added: “You just walk in, follow the route around and everything's fine and everyone is lovely.”
Just one of the wards at the Nightingale Hospital is currently being used for the vaccination process, with plans to open another three if there is demand for it.
The site does remain on standby for its original purpose, and it is understood should hospital capacity be required it can be "quickly" reverted back for patients.
Professor Neil Watson, of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is running the Covid Vaccination Programme in the North East and Cumbria.
He said the opening of another mass vaccination site was another "big moment" in the region's fight against coronavirus.
Prof Watson said: "It's another important day for us. It's really good to see this space being used.
"It's an extraordinary resource and we have plans to open up to four wards here, but that is flexible depending on the needs at the time.
"We could turn this around very quickly, and that is part of the agreement to stop vaccinations here to allow the clinical services to use the site."
Prof Watson said lessons had been learnt from the opening of the Centre for Life after pensioners were forced to queue for more than an hour in the freezing cold to receive their jab.
He said: "We have learnt a lot from the Centre for Life. From day one we realised we needed to operate a different queuing system and have provision for the older population.
"We were also able to increase capacity at the Centre for Life in order to deal with the numbers coming through the door and we have mirrored that as we opened here.
"The population have been fabulous. The over 80s in particular are so grateful to be vaccinated, many of whom have not been out much since last March."
Letters inviting the over-70s to attend appointments are landing on doorsteps with information explaining how they can book a slot over the phone or online.
Gerry Taylor, Sunderland’s executive director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning, said: "I’m delighted to see Sunderland hosting a new large vaccination centre for the region.
“We know that the Covid vaccine saves lives and is the best hope we have of protecting people against this virus. Anything that helps get the vaccine out to our communities as quickly as possible is to be welcomed.
"The new centre will play a significant part in the roll out of the vaccine to health and social care staff and the over 70s in Sunderland and from neighbouring areas, complementing the excellent work already underway in our Primary Care Networks and at Sunderland Royal Hospital to vaccinate our most vulnerable residents and critical workers.
"It’s vital to remember that even after having their vaccination, people must continue to follow the national stay at home rules and hands, face and space guidance to protect themselves and others."