People aged 25 to 29 can now book Covid vaccinations in Leeds

Over-25s in England are being called forward to get their Covid-19 vaccination from Tuesday, the Health Secretary has announced.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 4:45 am

Matt Hancock said that people aged 25 to 29 will be invited to book their jab as he signalled the start of the final stage of the vaccination programme.

Under-30s are the final cohort on the vaccine priority list.

The NHS hailed the "home straight" of the biggest vaccination programme in its history, which launched just six months ago.

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Over-25s in England are being called forward to get their Covid-19 vaccination from Tuesday. Picture: Danny Lawson

Grandmother Margaret Keenan became the first patient in the world to receive a Covid-19 jab outside of a clinical trial.

The 91-year-old retired jewellery shop assistant made history when she received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in Coventry on December 8 2020.

The NHS has spearheaded the successful campaign, which has seen more than half of all adults fully jabbed and more than three quarters given their first dose.

From Tuesday, around three million more people will become eligible to book their first dose.

Mr Hancock told MPs: "From this week we will start offering vaccinations to people under-30, bringing us ever closer to the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of next month.

"From tomorrow morning we will open up vaccination to people aged 25-29. Over the remainder of this week the NHS will send texts to people in these age groups and of course GPs will be inviting people on their lists to come forward."

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "Today is a watershed moment as the world-beating NHS vaccination programme enters the home straight of our race to offer everyone their first dose.

"The NHS vaccination programme is a real team effort and it is a testament to NHS teams across the country that we are able to open up to people in their 20s just six months on from delivering that world-first jab to Maggie Keenan.

"The tireless efforts of NHS staff to protect the people they care for and their communities has quite simply saved lives, and when you get the text, you're next.

"Getting the lifesaving Covid-19 jab is the most important thing you can do, with NHS staff vaccinating at over 1,600 sites, including vaccine buses, places of worship, sport stadiums and other convenient locations. So when you get that text, book your appointment and join the millions who are already protected."

NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis said: "There's still more to do, we might be on the home straight but it's really important that everybody who is eligible has the opportunity to come forward.

"So that's why this week's milestone is so important, opening up to that final priority group, inviting in, to start off with, the 25 to 29-year-olds for their jab.

"So if you're in that age group and you get your invite then do come along, come and get your first jab, it is the way you will protect yourself because this is a disease that can affect young people too, it's a way to protect your family, and of course, it is the way to make sure society gets back to normal as quickly as possible."

Alongside opening up appointments to younger age groups, the health service is pressing ahead with offering second doses to people at pace.

The so-called race between variants and vaccines has led to a sped-up timetable for offering second jabs.

Instead of waiting 12 weeks for their second dose, people are now being invited back for their second dose after eight weeks.

It comes amid concerns over the spread of the variant first identified in India, also known as the Delta variant.

Only a handful of people have been admitted to hospital after having both doses of the vaccine, NHS leaders have said previously.

In Northern Ireland and most of Wales, all adults have already been called forward to get their vaccine.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the programme would be extended to over-18s across the country before next week.

People aged 18 to 29 in Scotland have been asked to register for their jab, with appointments starting in mid-June.