ANOTHER vaccination centre in the North-East is set to open in County Durham - with the first to be vaccinated at the site on Monday.

The region's third 'Large Vaccination Centre' will officially open at Northumbrian Water's Boldon House at the Arnison Centre in Durham.

It follows on from figures this week which reveal more than 500,000 people in the first four priority groups have had their first dose in the North-East.

Confirming the new location, Amanda Healy, Director of Public Health at Durham County Council said the new site will be able to vaccinate up to 1,000 people per day.

She said: "It's fantastic we now have a vaccination centre in County Durham with the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people per day.

"The Covid-19 vaccine is helping to reduce rates of serious illness and save lives, which is why it's vital everyone who is invited for a vaccine takes up the opportunity.

"Please remember that once you have received your vaccine it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.

"It's also important to be mindful of the fact that the vaccine only protects you and you could still transmit the virus to people around you.

"It's important we all continue to follow social distancing guidance, practice good hand hygiene and wear a face covering when required.

"I would like to thank everyone for their efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. I know it has meant many sacrifices and I hope the opening of this large vaccination centre offers hope of brighter times to come."

The latest centre joins the two 'Large Vaccination Centres' at the Centre for Life in Newcastle and the NHS Nightingale Hospital North East near Sunderland.

According to Durham County Council, the Arnison shopping and retail location was chosen in consultation with local partners for its accessible location and good public transport links.

In line with the process already in place for all other vaccination services, the NHS will contact people when it is their turn to book their vaccine.

Dr Stewart Findlay, Primary Care Clinical Director for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria, said: "Already the NHS across our region has done and continues to do an amazing job getting as many people as possible vaccinated, as quickly as possible."

"Opening up the third vaccination centre in the region helps us to reach even more people as the programme continues to expand, giving even more people the opportunity to have their vaccine."

He continued: "We have received significant support from local partners to help us ensure this site is ready and that we can provide a good experience for patients and staff. In particular our grateful thanks to staff at Durham County Council, Northumbrian Water, public transport providers, local police, the Arnison local businesses and of course our ever-growing army of volunteers and staff.

"We are constantly delighted by how much people want to help us with the vaccination efforts, we know it's the way we can all have hope that we can all get back to normal and see the end of this awful situation."