Vaccination sites can now invite patients aged 40 to book their Covid jab, after 90% of people age 45 and over came forward to receive their first dose, NHS England has said.   

This follows the extension of vaccination eligibility to those aged 44 on Monday (26 April) and to 42 and 43-year-olds on Tuesday (27 April).

NHS England said in a primary care bulletin on Monday that a phased approach was being taken to cohort 10 ‘in line with available supply’.

Text messages are now being sent to those aged 40 and 41 to book an appointment via the national booking service.

An NHS England spokesperson confirmed to the Pharmacist's sister title Management in Practice that GP-led vaccination sites can also book in patients in this age group.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, 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.’

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that the UK’s vaccination programme has been ‘a phenomenal success’, as more than 47 million doses have been administered.

He said: ‘Building on this excellent progress we are now opening up vaccinations to 40 and 41 year olds. I got my jab yesterday and I urge everybody in these age groups to book a jab as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones from this dreadful disease.’

The Government also announced this week that it had secured an additional 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to support its autumn booster programme.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said these doses are to be used ‘alongside other vaccines’, and that the booster scheme will be ‘based on clinical need’ to protect the most vulnerable.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Management in Practice.