People who are aged 70 and over who have not yet received their Covid-19 vaccination jab and would like to receive it are being encouraged to contact the NHS to arrange an appointment.
Up until now, the advice has been for people to wait until the NHS contacted them, helping limit any sudden rush and allowing time to ensure those who are most vulnerable are protected first. This guidance remains in place for the majority of eligible people.
However, for those aged 70 and over - in order to ensure everyone is offered the vaccine - there is now enough capacity to allow for them to directly contact the NHS about arranging a jab.
By the middle of February, the Government wants to have offered everyone aged 70 and over in the country a vaccine.
Currently, the NHS is recommending booking a vaccination jab online for those eligible through the national booking service. This allows patients to select a time slot and location which suits them.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, any time between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, people are also able to call their GP practice to arrange a jab.
GP teams have also been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they too have been offered a vaccine. Anyone who received a letter in 2021 asking them to shield, should also receive an invitation from their local family doctor as well as an invitation from the national booking service inviting them for a jab.
People in priority groups who are given a vaccination appointment by both their local GP team and the national booking service should cancel the one they do not want so the slot can be used by someone else.
Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England and a practising GP, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is off to a strong start with every eligible care home receiving a visit and millions more people being vaccinated at one of over 1,500 centres across the country thanks to the tireless efforts of my colleagues.
“But if you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can.
“The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”