More than 1.2 million vaccine appointments available this week

Over 1.2 million booster jab appointments are still up for grabs this week as the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme continues at pace to protect the country against the virus.

So far, more than half a million people (642,000) have booked in for a jab this week (Monday 10 January to Sunday 16 January).

However, over 1.24 million appointments are still available with around 340,000 slots free on Thursday 13 January alone.

Around 100,000 newly eligible people will receive their jab invites this week.

England’s top doctor has urged people to “get boosted now” saying that two doses of the vaccine is not enough and hundreds of thousands of convenient slots are ready to be filled.

The biggest and fastest vaccination rollout in NHS history has already delivered over 30 million boosters to people in England, including over 90% of eligible people aged 50 and over, already boosted giving them maximum protection against Omicron.

Two vaccination doses gives little protection against Omicron, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showing that a booster gives significantly more protection against severe disease and hospitalisation.

England’s leading doctor is also reminding people that they only have to wait three months after their second dose for their booster.

There are more than 3,000 vaccination sites operating across the country ready to deliver that life-saving booster to those yet to come forward, as well as first and second doses.

Health chiefs have also instructed local and regional teams to maintain intensive efforts to support unboosted people to get jabbed, particularly in parts of the country where there has been lower uptake of boosters, to maximise their protection and make use of available doses.

NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “There is no excuse not to get your boost of protection with over 1.2 million vaccine appointments up for grabs this week.

“We know that around one fifth of people who have had their first two doses and are eligible for their booster are yet to get protected but there is no time or reason to delay.

“If you have put it off, now is the time to book and get boosted – it will protect you and ensure you can get maximum protection from Omicron as well as protecting those you love.

“If you are three months on from your second dose, please book in – the sooner you’re boosted, the better.”

Anyone yet to have a first, second or third dose can book in online through the National Booking Service if it has been three months since your last dose. You cannot have your vaccine if it has been less than 28 days since a positive COVID test.

The NHS is also urging families to get their children protected against the virus, with the country’s top GP calling on them to book in at one of around half a million appointments available for that age group this month.

Over 1.4 million young people aged 12 to 15 have had their first dose since the vaccine was rolled out to this age group in September, but there are still more than 1 million yet to get the jab.

Since the NHS in England made history on 8 December 2020 when Maggie Keenan received the first jab outside of a clinical trial in Coventry, more than 113 million vaccine doses have been delivered to help protect the country from the virus.