The NHS has started inviting people aged 44 to book their Covid-19 jab at various vaccination sites, including community pharmacies.
From Monday (April 26) onwards, around half a million 44-year olds have started receiving a text inviting them to get their jab through the national booking service.
“Now that 95 per cent of all over 50s have had their first jab, and more than two thirds of those aged 45-49, we are opening up vaccinations to 44 year olds,” Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Hancock added that the NHS is on track to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July.
When invited, people will be able to book at a vaccination centre or pharmacy site across the country through the national booking service.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of the people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.
The latest move to the next age group comes alongside the latest figures showing that more than two thirds of people aged 45 to 49 had been vaccinated.
The decision to move to people aged 40-43 will be set out in the coming days with the NHS vaccinating in line with JCVI advice and as supply allows, the NHS has confirmed.
Since the vaccination rollout began in December, more than 28 million people have been vaccinated with a first dose in England, 63.8 per cent of the total population of adults aged over 18.
NHS staff have also carried out more than ten million second doses and is reminding people to attend their second dose to ensure they receive maximum protection.
The NHS currently vaccinates using three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, all of which have been approved as safe and effective by the MHRA.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab.