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All over-50s can now book Covid vaccine in England

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From today, anyone over the age of 50 in England can book a vaccine online, using the NHS website

This means that an offer has now been made to everyone in the top nine priority groups, covering all vulnerable people. 

Letters and text messages are also being sent out to those in the last cohort, made up of those aged 50 to 54. 

The programme will next move to those in their 40s.

Local vaccination sites have been told to inform health officials by this Friday at the latest if they have offered jabs to everyone in the first phase of the programme and are able to start phase two.

Government sources have said supplies for the rest of this month are so substantial that it should then take less than a fortnight to offer jabs to everyone in their 40s by Easter, which falls on April 4th.

Vaccination sites have been instructed to recruit extra staff, and make use of thousands of volunteers to ensure the programme keeps accelerating, with extra “pop-up” vaccination clinics in workplaces, shopping centres, and leisure centres.

It follows a doubling in supplies of vaccines, on top of second doses, with bumper weeks expected to continue all month. 

Senior Government sources have said that supply is “no longer a constraint,” with the NHS urged to expand the number of sites offering jabs so they can be rolled out as quickly as possible. 

Once first doses have been offered to the first nine priority groups – which includes all over 50s, health and social care workers, and younger people with underlying health conditions – it will move to those aged 40 and over. 

Last week one senior Government source declared “we will do better” than publicly stated targets, saying there was optimism that all adults over 40 will be offered a first dose of the vaccine by Easter, as more supply is coming online than was initially anticipated.

Another source said: “We have got a bumper month coming up, supply is no longer a constraint; it’s about what the system can cope with.”

Today marks 100 days since the NHS programme began, with the first vaccine given to Maggie Keenan on Dec 8. 



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