Almost two million people aged 60 to 63 will be invited to book a COVID-19 jab this week as the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, gains fresh momentum.
The letters will start landing on doormats today (Monday) explaining how they can make an appointment to get jabbed through the national booking service.
They have been sent after more than 3 in 4 people aged 65 to 70 took up the offer of a vaccination. In all, more than 16.5 million people across England, over a third of the adult population, have received the lifesaving jab.
People are being invited to be vaccinated in order of risk, which increases with age, and the latest batch of invites arriving this week will mean everyone in the first seven priority groups will have been offered a jab, with people aged between 50 and 60 set to be invited shortly.
Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 Vaccination Director, Jane Scattergood, 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 half a million vaccinations given across Lancashire and South Cumbria 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.”
The latest invites come after the NHS wrote out to almost 450,000 people age 64, along with 600,000 who have recently been asked to shield last week.
The push to get as many of the most at-risk people protected means 9 in 10 people in the top four priority groups have received a jab.
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 aged 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 1 in 3 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 unrivaled dedicated to protect the most vulnerable should be applauded.”
People can use the national booking service to reserve a slot at an NHS Vaccination Centre or almost 200 pharmacy-led services across the country.
The booking service can be accessed at http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Those who cannot go online can call 119 free of charge.
NHS teams are visiting those who are housebound and cannot travel to a vaccination service.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums, and rugby grounds, with the distribution of centres meaning 98% of the country lives within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are being asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues.
Everyone will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Lancashire and South Cumbria, including how to get involved, visit: https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CovidVaccination