How do I book a Covid vaccine? NHS online booking system explained - and who is eligible for an appointment
Seven new mass vaccination centres have opened in England
The vaccination programme is well underway in the UK, with 2.2 million people receiving their first dose of a Covid-19 jab.
Currently, over 80s and healthcare workers are being inoculated using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines - and the newly-approved Moderna vaccine is due to arrive in the UK in March.
The rollout has been accelerated with the opening of seven new mass vaccination centres in England on Monday 11 January, which will help the government to achieve its target for two million people to receive a dose each week.
Here’s how you can book your Covid vaccination online if you are eligible.
Can I book a Covid vaccine online?
The NHS has an online vaccine booking service, allowing those who are eligible to conveniently book their jab.
The booking service will ask for your NHS number - the 10 digit number you will find on the letter you received inviting you to book your jab - but if you do not know it you are still able to secure a date.
Each vaccine requires two doses, so you will be asked to book two appointments when using the service.
The second dose will be given 11 to 12 weeks after you receive your first dose.
Who is eligible to book?
Not everyone can book a vaccine online and you should only use the tool if you have received a letter from the health service inviting you to book your vaccine appointments.
At the moment, letters are only being sent out to those who are aged 80 or over in accordance with the vaccine priority list.
Letters are being sent out each week by the NHS, so you should not worry if you’ve not received one yet.
Elderly people are receiving their jabs first because this age group has been deemed the most at-risk from coronavirus by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
The list of people who are eligible for the vaccines will change as more and more people are inoculated.
To be eligible to book an appointment, you also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England - if you’re not, you can register here.
If someone is unable to use the online tool to book their vaccine, someone else can use it for them.
Your appointment letter will also tell you how to book a vaccine slot over the phone.
What will happen at my appointment?
The NHS has said vaccine appointments will take 30 to 45 minutes.
This includes a number of checks, including being asked about your medical history.
You will then have to wait for 15 minutes after being vaccinated in case you experience a reaction to the jab - but the NHS says this is unlikely to happen.
Where are the new mass vaccination centres?
Each of the new mass vaccination centres is based in one of the seven NHS regions in England.
These are: Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre in London, the Centre for Life in Newcastle, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Millennium Point in Birmingham.
Will more centres be opening?
More vaccination centres are expected to open by the end of January.
That’s on top of hundreds of new GP sites and some pharmacies which will start to administer injections, bringing the total number of places giving out inoculations to roughly 1,200, according to NHS England.