Five GP surgeries in and around Chippenham have around 54,000 patients on their books.

And they expect to have given more than 3,500 Covid vaccines by this weekend.

Those will have been given to 3,016 over 80s, including 528 in residential care homes, plus staff.

The next cohort - those aged between 75 and 80 are now being phoned up to come for theirs. There are 2,237 of those. All due for a jab next week.

The Wiltshire Times was invited to look behind the scenes at the Rowden Surgery, where many of the vaccines are being given to patients from Hathaway, Box, Porch and Lodge surgeries.

On the day we went, queues of traffic were turning into the small road leading to the health centre.

Police and traffic marshalls had been drafted in to keep things moving.

Lines of elderly people were queuing outside the surgery, waiting for their turn, either being dropped off or escorted.

Jurica Stokes from Melksham was waiting for the all clear.

"It was fine. No problems whatsoever," she said. "It is very quick here. In and out."

Sue Whittington had been contacted by the Porch surgery. "It has all gone very smoothly," she said. "My daughters brought us - and I have no complaints here. It is just brilliant and we are so pleased to be here."

Several hundred vaccines were given, and 70 of those were given in one day by Dr Phil Grimmer, the clinical director for the network.

"The government have given us these different cohorts. By the end of this week we will have done all the over 80s and all the care homes," he said.

Once the surgery is informed of when and how many doses of the vaccine are coming its way, the team hits the phones trying to give appointments to those on the list.

When the vaccines arrive, the surgery's pharmacy team gets to work, diluting the boxes of vaccines with saline before they can be injected.

The Pfizer vaccine requires that those injected with it must wait around for 15 minutes to make sure all is well.

The practice had to put up a tent in the grounds to house them.

"They are coming into the tent for monitoring as their isn't enough room in the building," said care assistant Jade Smith.

"Everyone had been good so far. No problems at all."

But it has not been all plain sailing. "We were liaising with different tent companies," said Hathaway practice manager Kim Hiles. "But the day before we were due to start these vaccinations we were let down.

"We managed to get a festival tent up ourselves - but we were there until 10 0'clock to do it."

Kim, along with many of her back room colleagues helped direct traffic and patients outside in the wind and rain.

Justine Mansfield is the practice manager at Rowden. She said she was utterly bursting with pride about what had been achieved in such a short space of time. "I am very proud to be doing this piece of work for the people of Chippenham," she said.

"The staff are excited, energised and again proud to be part of the process to make this all happen.

"It has been a fast, steep learning curve though."