HEXHAM’S MP Guy Opperman has received his first Covid vaccine after revealing he is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Mr Opperman suffered a horse-riding accident 15 years ago, where he lost his spleen. It means he has an autoimmune condition, putting the MP in the most vulnerable category and therefore eligibly for a vaccine.

“I am relieved to have had my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Mr Opperman. “As for many others, I have a condition that makes me very vulnerable to the virus.

“The process was brilliant. The wonderful doctors, nurses and volunteers are doing an excellent job at making the vaccination centres safe and efficient.”

In thanking and paying tribute to NHS staff, Mr Opperman had a strong message for other people.

He added: “I would strongly encourage everyone who’s invited to come forward for a vaccine. They are safe, effective and the piece of scientific ingenuity that will keep our communities safe and let us get back to normal.”

Mr Opperman said the UK’s vaccination programme has been one of the most successful in the world.

He added: “As of February 8, the UK had vaccinated a higher proportion of the total population than all but two countries globally. 12,646,486 people across the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine.”

Mr Opperman is a keen amateur jockey, and has had some success in the sport.

In 2016, he memorably returned to the saddle five years after suffering a major health scare.

After collapsing in the House of Commons in 2011, Mr Opperman underwent surgery to remove and undiagnosed brain tumour.

A long period of physiotherapy and rehabilitation followed, before the MP was able to return to Westminster.

Over the years he has backed calls for more funding for brain tumour research.

He made his return in the 2016 Border fixture at Hexham Racecourse, the penultimate round of the Northern Area point-to-point season.