The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme will today (Wednesday) open up to everyone in their 30s as the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in NHS history begins inviting people aged 30 and 31 years old.
One million more people aged 30 and 31 will be invited by text over the coming days, leaving only adults between 18 and 29 yet to get the nod to come forward.
Since opening up to people in their thirties, nearly four million appointments have been booked.
The NHS has now delivered almost 32 million first doses of the jab, and well over 19 million of adults have had both doses, meaning they have maximum protection from the virus.
The NHS is urging everyone who is eligible to take up the offer of a jab at one of the 1,600 convenient locations across the country including mosques, museums and rugby grounds.
Jane Scattergood, director of nursing and quality at Fylde Coast CCGs and COVID-19 vaccination director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against COVID-19, with the jabs saving thousands of lives already, and today the biggest and most successful NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme in history is rolling out to everyone in their thirties.
“The offer of a vaccine doesn’t expire so if you are eligible and haven’t booked please do come forward when you’re invited to.”
On the advice of the government and Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are having their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Indian variant. Nobody needs to contact the NHS and people will be told to rebook if they need to.
NHS England’s lead for the NHS vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson said: “This weekend the biggest NHS vaccination programme in history hit another outstanding and important milestone with more than 50 million life-saving jabs being administered across the country in under six months.
“The success of the NHS vaccination programme is not a happy accident – it’s the result of exceptional planning, targeted delivery and people’s determination to protect their patients, friends and communities as fast as possible.”
By following a link and easy booking steps, people can book both jabs at the same time and can choose from a list of NHS Vaccination Centres or pharmacy-led vaccination services as well as some GP-led sites.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “Our vaccination programme is moving at such a phenomenal pace and I am delighted that less than 6 months after Margaret Keenan received the first authorised jab in the world, we are now able to open the offer to everyone in their thirties and over.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to help us roll out this life-saving jab. The NHS is booking record numbers of appointments and it is fantastic to see the public come forward in such exceptional numbers.
“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and recent data has shown the life-saving protection a second dose of the jab can give, especially against the new variant. I urge everyone to come forward when you get the offer and play a part in getting us back to normality.”
When invited, people will be able to book at one of the vaccination centre, pharmacy or general practice sites across the country that are available through the national booking service.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment. More appointments are being added to the National Booking Service every day.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.
People 39 and under who are eligible and pregnant women will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in line with recently updated JCVI guidance.