NHS COVID vaccine first dose drive enters ‘the home straight’ as final cohort called forward

The NHS COVID vaccination programme will start inviting remaining adults for their COVID-19 jabs from tomorrow, on the six month anniversary of administering the world-first approved jab.

The last group of adults will begin to be called forward for the first time tomorrow, with around three million people aged between 25 and 29 getting invited to book their first dose, with texts being sent from tomorrow and national booking services updated at 7am.

Since the landmark moment on December 8 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 and a half million 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 those asked to do so, to bring forward their second dose appointment.

NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “Tomorrow 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.”

When invited, people will be able to book at one of the 1,600 Vaccination Centre, pharmacy or general practice sites across the country that are available through the national booking service. Vaccination centres are also available in convenient locations such as mosques, museums and rugby grounds.

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.”

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 2020.

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.

Vaccines Minister, Minister Zahawi said: “We have taken yet another step forward and are now calling all over 25’s to get the jab.

“This is yet another incredible step forward in our journey back to normality. With our recently announced dating apps partnership, we are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to encouraging people to take up the vaccine.

“When you get the offer, get the jab – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”

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.