OLDER Brits who’ve not yet had the Covid vaccine have been urged to contact the NHS.
Anyone over the age of 70 is eligible to chase up with the NHS, as they should be covered by their first dose as soon as possible.
Health secretary Matt Hancock this evening said over 70s who have not had their coronavirus jab should get in touch with their local health serviceCredit: AFP or licensors
The graph above shows the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK from April 2020 to February 2021Credit: Downing Street
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people should encourage their grandparents to book a jab if they have not yet received it.
Speaking at Downing Street, he said: “Until now we’ve said please wait for the NHS to contact you but now that message is changing.
“If you live in England and are 70 and over and have not got an appointment to be vaccinate then please contact the NHS.
“The easiest way to do this is through the national booking service, online, at NHS.uk.
“Or if you can’t get online, call 119 or speak to your local GP practice.”
The self-referral for Covid jabs is a radical shift in NHS vaccination policy.
Until now, vulnerable adults were asked to wait to receive a call or letter which would give details on how to book a slot at one of the vaccination sites.
Officials, including Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, have repeatedly told the public to wait until they are contacted by the NHS.
But the health service is now calling for those aged over 70 to book their appointments using the website www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or those unable to get online can call 119.
It comes as:
Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement, Dr Nikki Kanani urged the over 70s to come forward for their Covid jab if they have not yet received their first doseCredit: AFP or licensors
Also speaking at the conference Dr Nikki Kanani added: “If previously you’ve had the offer and you weren’t sure and you’ve changed your mind now, please take up the offer when you’re contacted.
“Because that decision could save your life.”
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Health and social care workers are also among those who should seek a jab if they have not had it.
They are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination and should speak to their employer about arranging a vaccine appointment.
It comes after nursing bosses have warned that nearly half of temp workers have not yet had their Covid jab – nearly four times as many permanent staff.
And GP teams have been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients who have not yet had their first dose.
BOOK YOUR SLOT
The NHS has also urged people who have been given two jab slots by accident to cancel one so the slot can be used by someone else.
This might occur if a patient’s GP surgery books an appointment as well as the national booking service.
Mr Hancock said: “If you have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus.
“Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together.”
Mr Hancock added this evening that so far almost 1 in 4 adults across the UK have received a Covid jab.
If you are over 70 and have not had your Covid vaccine, you need to contact the NHS. Pictured: Batchwood Hall vaccination centre in St Albans, north of London on February 8Credit: AFP or licensors
The vaccine priority list
He said 91 per cent of over 80s had received the first dose and that 95 per cent of those aged 75-79 had also received a jab.
Mr Hancock said: “We will not rest until until we vaccinate all of those who are in an at risk group.”
Last week NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis reassured at-risk individuals who could not leave their home to get their jab will be reached.
He told the Downing Street briefing on February 1: “We acknowledge there are individuals in priority groups who for various reasons are housebound or find it difficult to travel to vaccination centres.
“Our GPs are working hard to ensure we can make sure we can undertake visits to those individuals and get them vaccinated.
“If they are in those priority groups, they are a top priority and we will get to them.”
It is not clear how many people have declined their vaccine offer since the rollout began last December.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi declined to say whether the Government is recording data on who has refused a coronavirus vaccine, when repeatedly asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week.
Ministers insist the UK remains on course to offer a vaccine to 14 million highest risk Brits by mid-February.
More than 12 million people have received their first dose so far.
The NHS has been working through the top four priority groups who most vulnerable in society, including the elderly and frontline healthcare staff.
With almost 90 per cent of those aged 75 and over having received their first jab, talks have turned to when the next cohort will start getting theirs.
The PM said he will reveal his plans for the next wave of Covid vaccines for those under-70s on February 15.
The same week, ministers will pour over data to see if the vaccines have had an effect on the R rate, hospitalisations and deaths, with a view of creating a lockdown exit strategy in the week February 22.
Once the top four priority groups are jabbed, the NHS can turn to the other five high risk groups, including all those over 50 years of age.
Mr Zahawi declined to put a date on when all over-50s can expect to receive a Covid-19 jab.
How do you know if a vaccine invite is a scam?
The Covid-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.
The NHS will never ask for:
- your bank account or card details
- your pin or banking password
- copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips
If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identify theft, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Figures suggest late March may be an option if supplies continue, and previously, Sir Simon has said the aim is for all over-50s and those at risk to be vaccinated by the end of April.
However, Downing Street confirmed last Friday all adults aged 50 and over should receive a coronavirus vaccine by May.
A spokesperson confirmed a Cabinet Office press notice on Friday morning – stating the UK vaccination programme planned to reach all nine priority groups by May so that local elections could go ahead in England and Wales on May 6 as planned – was correct.
It came after a chaotic online briefing for political journalists, in which a No 10 spokesman wrongly said the notice was “an error”.