The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme will start inviting remaining adults for their jabs from tomorrow (Tuesday), on the six-month anniversary of administering the world’s first approved jab.
The last group of adults will be called forward, with around three million people aged between 25 and 29 getting invited to book their first dose, with texts being sent from tomorrow (Tuesday) and national booking services updated at 7am.
Since the landmark moment on 8 December 2020, when 90-year-old grandmother Maggie Keenan from Coventry blazed a trail for the world, the biggest and most successful vaccination drive in history has gone from strength to strength with NHS staff delivering 57.5million lifesaving first doses to more than 75 per cent of the adult population.
More than half of adults are now fully vaccinated giving them maximum possible protection from coronavirus.
Anyone in the age groups now eligible for a vaccine is asked to book their jab once they receive the text message alert, with GPs also set to urge the newly eligible to come forward over the coming days.
Alongside opening up invites for first doses, the NHS is pushing a major drive on ensuring people get their second dose of the vaccine which is vital to get maximum protection against the virus.
Health service leaders and top medics are urging people to bring forward their second dose appointment if asked to do so.
Jane Scattergood, director of nursing and quality for the Fylde Coast CCGs and Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination director, said: “It is fantastic to see so many people come forward so quickly to get their lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine – this action means that we are protecting our communities against the virus.
“The offer doesn’t go away so if you are eligible and haven’t booked, please do come forward and do so. It is safe, effective and will protect you and those around you.
“The success of the programme is no accident as behind each vaccine at each site there is a lot of work and dedication from our staff and from our volunteers – we are so grateful for their continued help.”
NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “Today is a watershed moment as the world-beating NHS vaccination programme enters the home straight of our race to offer everyone their first dose.
“The NHS vaccination programme is a real team effort and it is a testament to NHS teams across the country, that we are able to open up to people in their twenties just six months on from delivering that world first jab to Maggie Keenan.
“The tireless efforts of NHS staff to protect the people they care for and their communities has quite simply saved lives, and when you get the text, you’re next.
“Getting the lifesaving COVID-19 jab is the most important thing you can do, with NHS staff vaccinating at over 1,600 sites including vaccine buses, places of worship, sport stadiums and other convenient locations. So, when you get that text, book your appointment and join the millions who are already protected.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Every day brings with it another exciting milestone in our vaccination programme – the largest and most successful in NHS history. The vaccine is saving lives and preventing hospitalisations. Two weeks after we extended the invite to all over 30s, we are now extending the offer to everyone aged 25 and over.
“We have one of the highest uptake rates in the world with over half of the UK population having the fullest possible protection from two doses, and over three quarters receiving at least one dose. The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic so when you get the call, get the jab.”
Text invitations, which do not expire, appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and include a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.
People aged 39 and under who are eligible and pregnant women will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in line with updated JCVI guidance.