Nine out of 10 people aged 65 and over have now had their first COVID vaccine, NHS England announced today, as invites to those aged 60 to 63 began landing on doormats.
The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, has jabbed more than more than 17 million people in a matter of weeks, including four in five people aged 65 to 69.
People aged 64 were invited to have a life-saving jab last week and 1.9 million letters have started arriving at the homes of those aged 60 to 63 today explaining how they can arrange a vaccination through the national booking service.
Those most at risk are being vaccinated first in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The latest batch of invites arriving from today will mean everyone in the first seven priority groups will have been offered a jab.
Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said: “In just a few months, the NHS has made extraordinary progress in vaccinating more than 17 million people across the country and it is incredible that more than nine out of 10 people aged 65 and over have already received potentially life-saving protection.
“It is down to the hard work of NHS staff, volunteers and all the others supporting the vaccination programme, that we can now invite everyone aged 60 to 63 years old to arrange an appointment to get jabbed as soon as possible.
“It is never too late to take up the offer and I would urge anyone eligible who has yet to do so to come forward and protect yourself and others.”
Last week, the NHS wrote to almost 450,000 people aged 64, as well as 600,000 at-risk individuals who have recently been asked to shield.
The efforts to get the most vulnerable people protected has paid off, with nine in 10 people in the first four priority groups having already been jabbed.
People can use the national booking service to reserve a slot at one of more than 100 NHS Vaccination Centres or almost 200 pharmacy-led services across the country.
The booking service can be accessed at http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Those who cannot go online can call 119 free of charge.
NHS teams are visiting those who are housebound and cannot travel to a vaccination service.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,500 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, with the distribution of centres meaning 98% of the country lives within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are being asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues.
Everyone will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab.
The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on December 8.
The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, was vaccinated on January 4.