The NHS has vaccinated more than 16.5 million people in England, as millions of over-60s are invited to book their appointments.
Almost two million people aged 60 to 63 will this week be invited to book their Covid-19 jabs, as the vaccine rollout expands into a lower age category. Adults aged between 50 and 60 can expect their invites ‘shortly’, the NHS says.
Once the over-60s have had their first Covid-19 shot, then the first seven of nine priority groups will have been offered the jab. The latest analysis published by the Government shows just one dose of either the Oxford or Pfizer vaccines is more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation from Covid-19 in the over-80s, while symptomatic infections in the over-70s decrease around three weeks after a dose.
The Government said: “The new analysis adds to growing evidence that the vaccines are working and are highly effective in protecting people against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.”
Letters inviting over-60s to book their vaccines started arriving on Monday. But if you are over 60, you do not need to wait for a letter to reserve your slot.
Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history and fastest in Europe, goes from strength to strength.
“I would like to thank my colleagues across the NHS, along with all the volunteers and others working on the programme, for their hard work which has seen more than 17 million jabs given in a matter of weeks.
“I would urge anyone who has been invited to take up the offer – it doesn’t matter when you were invited you can still come forward and protect yourself and others.”
Vaccine lots can be reserved through the online national booking service. The jabs are given at vaccination centres and pharmacy-led services across the country.
In the North East, there are large vaccination centres at Newcastle’s Centre for Life, Sunderland’s Nightingale Hospital, the Arnison Centre in Durham and the Darlington Arena.
Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Since around four fifths of 65-69 year olds have now been vaccinated, we’re rapidly working our way down the generations, with people ages 60+ now able to come forward.
“As expected vaccine supply increases in March, we’re planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter.”
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our incredible vaccination programme is accelerating and well over one in three people across the UK have now received their first jab.
“We are now inviting those aged 60 to 63 to receive their vaccines and I urge everybody to come forward as quickly as possible to protect yourself and others from this terrible virus.
“Thank you to everyone on the frontline, including NHS vaccinators, GPs, pharmacists and volunteers, whose unrivalled dedicated to protect the most vulnerable should be applauded.”
How to book an NHS Covid-19 vaccine if you are over 60
If you are aged 60 or over and have not had a vaccine shot yet, you can book online here.
Those with no internet access can telephone 119, free of charge, to book theirs. NHS teams are visiting those who are housebound and cannot travel to a vaccination service.
You can book a vaccine now if you are:
- you are aged 60 or over
- you have previously received a letter saying you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- you are an eligible frontline health worker
- you are an eligible frontline social care worker
- you get Carer’s Allowance
Do I need to be registered with a GP to get a vaccine?
Yes, if you are not registered with a GP, do so before booking your vaccine. You can register for a GP here.
Who will be vaccinated next after the over-60s?
Once the jab is offered to over-60s, then the programme will be expanded to 50 to 60 year-olds. Vaccine supply is set to increase this month, Sir Simon Stevens says, so expect the programme to ‘accelerate’ between now and Easter.