IT has been a day we have all been waiting for and at times wondered if it might ever happen.

But today (Wednesday, December 16) saw the very first coronavirus vaccines administered in St Helens.

A mass vaccination clinic was started at Saints' Totally Wicked Stadium this morning, with the first of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine administered shortly after 9am.

The primary care vaccination service is one of the first designated local vaccination sites across the country to lead the biggest and most complex immunisation programme in the history of the NHS.

GPs and practice nurses are administering the vaccine to people registered with a St Helens GP practice who are aged 80 and over.

The vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder.

All those who are vaccinated will then need to return for a booster jab 21 days later.

First to have the vaccine in St Helens was former Saints player Bill Adair, 90, who received the jab from Dr Hilary Flett, governing body member of St Helens CCG and Mill Street Medical centre GP.

St Helens Star:

Bill, who made his debut at Knowsley Road in 1950, is a patient of Hall Street Medical Centre.

He described the process of having the vaccine as "painless" and has encouraged anyone offered the jab to go and have it.

READ > St Helens' latest coronavirus rate

"It was pretty painless, I didn't feel anything when I had it done," said Bill, from Haresfinch.

"You wouldn't know that I have just had a vaccine at all.

"I have been really looking forward to having this done today."

Bill says that he is looking forward to being able to socialise and do the things he has missed out on for much of 2020.

"Now I can look forward to doing things again, and getting back to playing snooker at Greenalls with the lads," he added.

St Helens Star:

“I turned 90 earlier this year and if I can have it, anyone can.

“I can now look forward to spending time with my friends and family after Christmas, and being able to worry less about catching it as an older person.

“When you are offered the vaccine, my advice is ‘take it’ – it’s quick and painless and everyone here today has been so brilliant and have worked so hard to make this happen.”

Also, among the first to have the vaccine today was 93-year-old Jim Henshall, who lives in Haresfinch.

St Helens Star:

The former Pilks worker and Second World War veteran says he is looking forward to being able to go back to the races again in 2021 at Haydock.

Jim said: "It was painless having it. I remember when I got called up in 1945 and you had to have two needles and they were massive. This one is tiny in comparison."

He added: "I hope that I'll be able to go back to the races at Haydock Park next year again!

"I would encourage others to come and get it, definitely."