All adults aged 50 and over in England are now being invited to book a Covid-19 vaccination on the NHS website.
The call comes after the government announced last month that everyone in the over 50 age group should be offered their first dose of a vaccine by May.
Priority groups vaccinated by May
The government is aiming to offer a coronavirus vaccine to everyone in the first nine priority groups by May, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set the target of vaccinating all UK adults by the end of July.
Care home residents and their carers, plus people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers, formed the top two priority groups.
This was followed by people aged 75 and over, and those deemed to be “clinically extremely vulnerable”.
These top four groups have now been offered their first dose, and the vaccination programme has moved into the next phase to cover the next five groups.
This includes the following:
- Group 5 – all those aged 65 and over
- Group 6 – adults aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group
- Group 7 – all those aged 60 and over
- Group 8 – all those aged 55 and over
- Group 9 – all those aged 50 and over
Age over occupation
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has already recommended that the next phase of Covid-19 vaccinations should continue to prioritise people by age, rather than occupation, to avoid slowing down the rollout.
People in the 40 to 49 age bracket will be the next in line to get a vaccine, once all vulnerable groups and the over 50s have been offered their first dose.
The JCVI said this would provide “the greatest benefit in the shortest time”, adding that prioritising occupational groups, such as teachers and police, could make the rollout more complex and potentially slow the programme down.
As such, this could leave some of the most vulnerable people at higher risk for longer.
Phase two of the rollout will see the following groups prioritised for vaccinations in this order:
- Everyone aged between 40 and 49
- Everyone aged between 30 and 39
- Everyone aged between 18 and 29
More than 25 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Figures released by the government on Tuesday (17 March) revealed that 25,273,226 people were vaccinated between 8 December 2020 and 16 March 2021 with their first doses of the Pfizer and Oxford Covid-19 vaccines. A total of 1,759,445 people have also had their second dose.
This means that almost half of the adult population (26.5 million) have already been vaccinated and will soon develop strong protection against the disease.
Speaking about the achievement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s been such a national mission. One of the biggest logistical exercises since the war.
“We’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to everybody following the rules that are keeping us safe now and coming forward to get a jab that will keep us safe for the future.
“So let’s stick with it, follow the rules, and when you get the call, get the jab.”
How to book your appointment
You can book an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination via the national booking service to reserve a slot at an NHS vaccination centre, or one of the pharmacy-led services across the country.
To book a Covid-19 vaccine in England, visit nhs.co.uk.
You can only use this service if any of the following apply:
- you are aged 50 or over
- you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- you are an eligible frontline health or social care worker
- you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- you have a learning disability
- you are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
You also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England to use this service. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.
If you are not eligible yet, you should wait to be contacted. The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. You should not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.