(Photo: REUTERS/Paul Childs)

People aged 70 and over, along with clinically extremely vulnerable patients, have started receiving invitations for vaccination against Covid-19 from Monday (Jan 18).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) said while vaccinating the first two priority groups – care home residents and staff plus those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff – would remain the priority, but vaccination sites will now “offer vaccinations to the next two cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people.”

The vaccination service to those 70s and above will allow areas that have already vaccinated the majority of care home residents, frontline health and care staff and people aged 80 and over to keep up the momentum and start vaccinating further at-risk people, helping the NHS to reach the government’s plans of offering vaccinations to the first four priority groups by the middle of February.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “We are now delivering the vaccine at a rate of 140 jabs a minute and I want to thank everyone involved in this national effort.

“We have a long way to go and there will doubtless be challenges ahead – but by working together we are making huge progress in our fight against this virus.”

Before going on self-isolation on Tuesday, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “Now that more than half of all over-80s have had their jab, we can begin vaccinating the next most vulnerable groups. Where an area has already reached the vast majority of groups 1 to 2, they can now start opening up the programme to groups 3 to 4.

“We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February and our NHS heroes are making huge strides in making this happen.

“This measure does not mean our focus on getting care homes, healthcare staff and those aged 80 and over vaccinated is wavering – it will remain our utmost priority over the coming weeks to reach the rest of these groups.”

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