Eligible patients who have not yet had a Covid vaccine they are entitled to are being urged to come forward in the next few days before slots dry up.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis called on people to come forward before 29 March if they qualified for a jab before appointments slow ahead of the roll out of second doses.

NHS England said some GPs were calling each of their unvaccinated patients personally to encourage uptake. Text invitations are also being sent out.

More than 3.5 million doses had been given in the week up to Sunday – a new record – he added.

‘It is a testament to the careful planning and sheer hard work of staff that the NHS vaccination programme is continuing to protect people against coronavirus at a record pace’, Professor Powis said.

Figures show seven in ten people aged 50 to 54 years have now had their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while over half of the adult population have had at least one vaccine dose.

But Covid vaccine supply is set to see a ‘significant reduction’ from 29 March that is forecast to last four weeks.

The BBC has reported that the reduction in supply is partly due to a four-week delay in the delivery of five million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from India.

It comes as research shows that more than four in five people who were previously unsure or had refused a vaccine would now take up the offer or already had done.

Mass vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led services have been asked to close unfilled Covid vaccine appointment bookings from 29 March.

However, NHS England told the Pharmacist's sister publication, Pulse that PCN-led sites should keep booking patients from the first nine priority groups for both first and second doses.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.