(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The NHS has started inviting all people aged 40 and above to book a Covid-19 jab at a vaccination centre of their choice or a community pharmacy-led vaccination site.

From April 30, text messages are now going out to 40 and 41-year-olds allowing them to arrange a jab at the click of a button through the national booking service.

Those aged 42 to 44 have already been texted last week, meaning in total another 2.5 million more people have been invited for their jab.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “The UK’s vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success so far, with more than 47 million doses administered and one of the highest uptake rates in the world.

“Building on this excellent progress we are now opening up vaccinations to 40 and 41 year olds. I got my jab yesterday and I urge everybody in these age groups to book a jab as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones from this dreadful disease.”

Outgoing NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “With nine tenths of people aged 45 and over having been jabbed, nearly three quarters of a million new appointments were made in just two days as our booking service opened to people aged 42 to 44.

“With second doses also proceeding apace, we’re now ready to invite all those aged 40 and over to join the most successful vaccination drive in health service history.”

NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.

“If you receive a text inviting you for your jab, please follow the instructions provided and book – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the virus.”

When invited, people will be able to book in at a vaccination centre or pharmacy site through the national booking service.

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