People aged 64 due to be called for Covid jabs in Milton Keynes this week

Covid vaccines are being performed at such speed that the next age group - 64 year olds - are set to be called this week, local NHS bosses have revealed today.
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Meanwhile the NHS is urging anyone aged 65 to 69 who has not been vaccinated to respond to their recent invite.

Over two thirds of people aged 65 to 69 have now had their vital first dose, after invitations went out a week ago. Everyone in this age group is now eligible to receive the vaccine, with thousands of letters having arrived in homes across MK this week. Online bookings are also open.

Meanwhile invites for people aged 64 are due to land on doormats across MK later this week, with the recipients being asked initially to book a slot at a local vaccination centres.

64-year-olds should receive letters later this week64-year-olds should receive letters later this week
64-year-olds should receive letters later this week

At the same time, anyone who is aged 65 or over can get an appointment by booking through the national booking service, as the NHS looks to help as many people in this age group get their jab and make use of available doses.

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Having your NHS number to hand will reduce the booking time. But should anybody aged 65 to 69 want to wait to be called by their local GP vaccination service, they are still able to do so.

NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "The NHS Covid vaccination campaign continues full steam ahead - letters inviting everyone aged 65 to 69 went out a week ago, and already over two thirds of them have had their first Covid vaccination.

“Across England overall nearly a third of adults have now had their first jab, and early signs suggest this is contributing to the welcome fall in coronavirus hospitalisation that we're now seeing."

Catherine O’Connell, Director of commissioning and executive lead for the vaccination programme for NHS England and NHS Improvement East of England, said: “NHS staff, volunteers and other partners across the East of England have done an incredible job so far delivering the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as dealing with high levels of Covid-19 hospital patients.

“To the small proportion of people who have been invited but not come forward yet, I would urge you to do so this week. Vaccines are the best weapon we have in the fight against coronavirus, and local services are going to great lengths to ensure that local people can get this protection in a safe and convenient place.

“And to the wider public, NHS staff need you to continue to play your part too. That means unless you are in the groups being invited now, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time; when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to; and whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives.”

NHS England medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “Over 14.5 million of the most vulnerable people in England have already safely had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and with people aged between 65 and 69 now eligible too, we want everyone else in this age group to consider making this week your week to get a jab.

“They can - including from later this week anyone aged 64 - use the online national booking service to book in at their nearest Vaccination Centre or pharmacy, so anyone that is able to do so should act this week to seize their opportunity for a life-saving vaccine.”

Since the NHS became the first health service anywhere in the world to give out a Covid-19 vaccine in December last year, when 90-year old Maggie Keenan got her jab in Coventry, more than 1.5 million people in the east of England have had their first dose.

The NHS moved to the next phase of the biggest vaccination programme in its history earlier this week, with people aged 65 and over and an expanded group of clinically vulnerable people now receiving the vaccine, and a further acceleration to follow in the coming days when people aged 64 will receive their invites.

Larger vaccination centres have been opened across the region, including at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend, and Bedford Heights in Bedford.

These venues have been chosen for accessibility and for providing a sufficiently large space where high numbers of people can have their vaccine and maintain safe social distancing.

High street pharmacists have also joined the great mobilisation to protect the country, and people in the 65 and over age bracket can get their appointment at a community pharmacy, if they prefer.

With important progress already made – including everyone aged 65 years old and over offered a jab, and all care homes visited for vaccination where it’s safe to do so – the NHS is now seeking to drive uptake among the next priority groups.

The NHS made history in January, following the ground-breaking world-first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December, when Brian Pinker became the first person in the world to receive the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine outside of a clinical trial.