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People aged 44 will be invited to book their COVID-19 jab from today (Monday) as the NHS vaccine programme, the biggest and fastest in its history, continues at pace.
England’s top doctor is urging people to come forward for their jab when they are invited do to so.
Around half a million 44-year olds will receive a text inviting them to get their jab through the national booking service from today.
The move to the next age group comes alongside the latest figures showing that more than two thirds of people aged 45 to 49 had been vaccinated.
The decision to move to people aged 40-43 will be set out in the coming days with the NHS vaccinating in line with JCVI advice and as supply allows.
Since the vaccination rollout began in December, more than 28 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose in England, 63.8% of the total population of adults aged over 18.
NHS staff have also carried out more than ten million second doses and is reminding people to attend their second dose to ensure they receive maximum protection.
NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said: “Thanks to NHS staff, people aged 45-49 have been hot on the heels of millions of people most at risk who were quick to take up the offer of a vaccine with more than two thirds getting their lifesaving jab, marking another medically important milestone in the biggest vaccination campaign in NHS history.
“When the time comes, and you get that text, book an appointment to get your vaccine – it is the best protection you and your loved ones will receive from this deadly virus.”
NHS Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “It is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that we are now able to vaccinate people in the next age group.
“If you are aged 44, when you are invited to do so, please do book your jab as appointments become available – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “Now that 95% of all over 50s have had their first jab, and more than two thirds of those aged 45-49, we are opening up vaccinations to 44 year olds.
“The biggest vaccination programme in NHS history has delivered 45.5 million doses so far across the UK, and we are on track to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July.
“I encourage everyone who is 44 to book an appointment to get the jab – it will protect you and your loved ones, and help put this pandemic behind us.”
When invited, people will be able to book at a Vaccination Centre or pharmacy site across the country through the national booking service.
The NHS currently vaccinates using three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, all of which have been approved as safe and effective by the world leading medical regulator the MHRA.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of the people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
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 8 December.
The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, received his on 4 January.