25 Mar 2021

The vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. Thanks to the thousands of people involved, in under four months the health service in England has given the vital first vaccine dose to more than half of all adults - some 24 million people - opened more than 1,600 vaccination services, and visited over 10,000 care homes.

Take-up of the vaccine has been strong; nine out of 10 people aged 60 and over have already taken up their first dose.

Everyone in the top nine priority groups is now eligible to book theirs, and millions of people have done exactly that over the last few days.

Appointments for first doses are still available for the rest of March, but they are filling up fast, with bookings last Wednesday (17th) more than twice the number seen the day before.

Services are ramping up too – last week alone (15th-21st) 3.5 million vaccinations were recorded, almost 75% more than the previous week.

So if you are in an eligible group – if you are 50 or over, have a health condition that puts you at greater risk, or are a health or social care worker – and you haven’t booked your first dose yet, the time to do so is right now.

It’s quick and simple to book at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119, and the vaccines are safe and effective.

And if you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it’s really important that you attend it as planned.

The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need to get a second dose, so we are urging people to come back when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked.

Millions of people are already benefiting from protection from the virus and we are seeing this result in the welcome fall in infections and hospital cases. But NHS staff are still having to work hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as providing care for everyone who needs it.

So we need the public to continue to play their part too:

  • 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;
  • please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose;

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.