Thousands of vaccine appointments up for grabs across the east of England over the Easter weekend

More than 35,000 jab appointments are up for grabs in the east of England this weekend, as the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme continues over the Easter bank holiday.

NHS staff are gearing up to protect all those who are eligible with vaccines for the whole family available including 5 to 11 year olds, booster jabs for all adults and spring doses for those who are eligible.

So far, almost 18,000 people have booked in for a jab between Friday and Monday across the region, including nearly 4,000 young people aged 5 to 11.

Appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119. Local NHS teams are also offering walk in appointments and people can check where their nearest grab a jab site is online.

NHS staff will be working hard over the weekend to boost the region’s immunity, with vaccinations taking place across sites such as Haverhill Arts Centre in Suffolk, the Grafton shopping centre in Cambridge and Biggleswade Hospital in Bedfordshire.

The biggest and fastest NHS vaccination rollout in health history has already delivered over 120 million vaccines since Maggie Keenan received the world-first jab in December 2020, with more than 14 million being delivered in the east of England alone.

The NHS is continuing to invite people for their spring dose in line with JCVI guidance with more than 1.5 million people already taking up the offer nationally.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “Whether it is your first or spring booster, the NHS is on hand this Easter break to get you and your loved ones protected as the NHS covid-19 vaccination programme continues.

“It is great that well over one million people most vulnerable to the virus have taken up their spring booster and that tens of thousands of people including our youngest eligible groups are already booked in over the long weekend.

“But with covid infections still high and thousands of slots still up for grabs, it is important people come forward and protect themselves with the option to book online at a convenient location or head to one of hundreds of walk-ins when they are invited.”

Recent research from the UK Health Security Agency showed that the NHS booster programme has helped prevent around 197,000 hospitalisations since mid-December.