Covid-19 vaccination programme calls for 44-year-olds to book up for their jab as NHS looks to invite next group down within days
People aged 44 will be invited to book their Covid-19 vaccine in England from today, Monday, April 26.
Around half a million 44-year-olds will receive a text inviting them to get their jab through the national booking service, NHS England said.
The decision to move to people aged 40 to 43 will be set out in the coming days, with the NHS vaccinating in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and as supplies allow.
It is the first time that the vaccine rollout in England has been extended by single year – previously, the age-based approach to the programme had offered the jab to people in age brackets.
The last cohort offered the jab was those aged 45 to 49.
There was high uptake among this group and within a week of the booking system opening, two thirds had received their first vaccine.
There had been supply constraints throughout April, with second vaccines being prioritised while supply was available.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Thanks to NHS staff, people aged 45-49 have been hot on the heels of millions of people most at risk who were quick to take up the offer of a vaccine with more than two thirds getting their lifesaving jab, marking another medically important milestone in the biggest vaccination campaign in NHS history.
“When the time comes, and you get that text, book an appointment to get your vaccine – it is the best protection you and your loved ones will receive from this deadly virus.”
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “It is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that we are now able to vaccinate people in the next age group.
“If you are aged 44, when you are invited to do so, please do book your jab as appointments become available – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus.”
The NHS is now using three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.