People aged 44 in England are now being invited to book coronavirus vaccines, the NHS confirmed on Monday.
Around half a million people in the age group will receive a text inviting them to get their jab through the national booking service.
It comes as the rapid rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme continues – with nearly 650,000 doses administered in the latest 24 hour period. That means more than 33.5million first jabs and 12.5 million second doses have now been given to Brits – but in recent weeks the vast majority of new inoculations have been second jabs.
That means the progress down the age groups has slowed compared with the earlier stages of the rollout, now that the most vulnerable people have been jabbed.
A move to invite people aged 40-43 for their appointment is expected in the coming days, with NHS vaccinations coming out in line with advice from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and after considering supplies coming into the country.
There are also hopes that people in their 30s could then be vaccinated ‘within days’.
A new Government video has been released urging the under-50s to take up their vaccine invites when they arrive.
Some younger people with underlying health conditions and frontline jobs have already been vaccinated ahead of other people in the age group.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Thanks to NHS staff, people aged 45-49 have been hot on the heels of millions of people most at risk who were quick to take up the offer of a vaccine with more than two thirds getting their lifesaving jab, marking another medically important milestone in the biggest vaccination campaign in NHS history.
‘When the time comes, and you get that text, book an appointment to get your vaccine – it is the best protection you and your loved ones will receive from this deadly virus.’
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis added: ‘It is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that we are now able to vaccinate people in the next age group.
‘If you are aged 44, when you are invited to do so, please do book your jab as appointments become available – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the coronavirus.’
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