People aged 40 and over in England will receive texts from tomorrow encouraging them to book their Covid-19 vaccinations, NHS leaders have announced.
NHS England said text messages will be sent out from today (Friday, April 30) to 40 and 41-year-olds allowing them to arrange their vaccination appointments.
The text invitations will appear as an alert from “NHSvaccine” and include a link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy site.
But those who cannot book an appointment online will be able to call the national booking service on 119 instead to book their jab.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for the NHS in England, urged people who received a text invite to book their jab to do so.
He said: “The rapid rollout of the NHS vaccination programme, the swiftest in Europe, is down to months of careful planning and sheer hard work by nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our volunteers.
“If you receive a text inviting you for your jab, please follow the instructions provided and book – it is simple, effective and provides vital protection against the virus.”
It comes as the latest NHS England figures reveal nearly two thirds of the adult population have received their coronavirus jabs – more than 28.5 million people in England.
The data, published on Thursday, also showed that nearly 12 million people had received their second doses, making them fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “With nine tenths of people aged 45 and over having been jabbed, nearly three quarters of a million new appointments were made in just two days as our booking service opened to people aged 42 to 44.
“With second doses also proceeding apace, we’re now ready to invite all those aged 40 and over to join the most successful vaccination drive in health service history.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who received his first coronavirus vaccination at London’s Science Museum on Thursday, said: “The UK’s vaccination programme has been a phenomenal success so far, with more than 47 million doses administered and one of the highest uptake rates in the world.
“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.”