NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has today urged anyone currently eligible for a COVID vaccination, who has not received one, to book an appointment without delay.
The call came as new figures showed the NHS has jabbed more than 26 million people across England since the NHS made history by giving Maggie Keenan the first Pfizer jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry Hospital in December.
During April the NHS is also beginning to focus on second doses, which are delivered 12 weeks after people got their first jab. But appointments are still available for those in the initial cohorts who have not yet been protected.
NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “We’re well on track to meet our 15 April goal of offering NHS COVID vaccination to everyone aged 50 and over, as well as other high risk groups. In just the past two weeks we’ve now jabbed nearly 85% of people aged 50-54, and over three million of the highest risk people have also now had their top up second dose.”
Professor Steve Powis urged anyone who is eligible to come forward – and to ensure they take up the second dose when the time comes to make sure they receive full protection.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis, said: “Our fantastic staff, helped by local organisations and volunteers, have done everything in their power to jab millions of people at speed – an incredible achievement.
“As we start to see signs of normal life returning – seeing family or friends outdoors -protecting those most at risk is even more important.
“So, if you have not been jabbed and are eligible, please do book in – staff are working hard to protect as many as possible, as supply allows.
“I had my jab a few weeks ago – it is easy, quick and effective.”
Anyone aged 50 and over can arrange a jab. Those who are clinically vulnerable or a health and care worker should contact their GP for an appointment.
People who had their first jab at a vaccination centre or pharmacy-led service should already have a date for their second while those jabbed by a GP will be called back.
The NHS is also inviting those eligible for a jab by letter and text, with some GPs also calling unvaccinated patients personally to encourage uptake.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’ and letters include a web link to click and reserve an appointment at one of more than 300 large-scale vaccination centres or pharmacies across England.
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are delivering the life-saving jab at more than 1,600 sites ranging from cathedrals, mosques and temples to racecourses, sports stadiums, cinemas and museums.
The NHS made history when 90-year-old Maggie Keenan was the first recipient in the world outside a clinical trial of a Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December 2020.
Brian Pinker, 82, was the first person to be vaccinated with the new Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on 4 January 2021 by the NHS in Oxford, where the jab was created.