There are more than 725,000 chances to grab a jab this week as the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme opens up its spring offer to all those eligible.
More than 320,000 people have already booked an appointment and the first of these will begin receiving their vaccinations from today.
Around five million people in total are eligible in line with JCVI advice, which includes over 75s, those aged five and over with a weakened immune system, and older adult care home residents.
NHS staff have already begun administering spring booster doses to care home residents over the last two weeks.
The NHS has issued 1.25 million invites so far and a further one million people will be asked to book a vaccine appointment this week if they are yet to do so.
It is the first time that millions have been sent their initial invitations through the NHS App, where they can also book an appointment, as the NHS continues to expand its technological capabilities.
Text messages, emails and letters will also be sent to those without the app or not actively using it.
The health service – now in its 75th year – has administered more than 144.5 million covid jabs over several vaccination campaigns since Maggie Keenan became the first in the world outside of a clinical trial to receive the vaccination in December 2020.
NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said: “The covid vaccine still has a crucial role to play in protecting those at greatest risk of severe illness from the virus, including those with a weakened immune system as well as all aged 75 and above.
“It is great to see that around 320,000 people have booked in to get a jab with around hundreds of thousands of further slots available across the country this week alone.
“The NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme has delivered almost 145 million vaccine doses since December 2020 and staff will not stop in their efforts to give people extra protection. I would urge anyone eligible for this extra protection to get their spring covid vaccination at the earliest opportunity and give yourself peace of mind this summer”.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “As we enter spring, it’s important to remember immunity from Covid vaccines wanes over time. From today, a further one million people will be invited to top up their protection against the virus.
“For the first time, invites to book a Covid jab are being sent via the NHS App – a fantastic example of how we’re using technology to make it easier for people to access health services. With over 3,000 vaccination sites across England, it couldn’t be easier to get your jab when invited so please do not hesitate.
“The offer of a first and second dose of vaccine to healthy adults will also be ending on 30 June and I strongly encourage anyone who has not yet come forward to join the nearly 43 million who have already received both doses.”
This latest vaccination is being offered to those considered most at risk, following advice from the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation.
Those invited should make sure their appointment takes place at least three months since their last dose.
Anyone who believes they should be eligible for a vaccine but does not get invited can check online. Alternatively, they can self-declare via the National Booking Service and then speak to a clinician on site.
The last spring vaccination appointments will be offered on 30 June. Anyone who turns 75 before then is eligible.
Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone who was aged 5 on or before 31 August 2022 will also end after that date, following recent advice from the JCVI. After 30 June, the NHS offer will become more targeted to those at increased risk, usually during seasonal campaigns.
There will be around 3,000 sites across England, with the majority of appointments being delivered in communities by pharmacies and GPs.