Hundreds of thousands of people asked to shield earlier this month are being invited for a COVID jab, NHS England has announced.
Public health officials identified 1.7 million people who are at additional risk from coronavirus earlier this month, with around 600,000 now being invited to book a slot at a Vaccination Centre or pharmacy service. The remainder have already had their jab in the first phase of the programme. The latest priority groups have been invited to come forward after everyone in a care home, health and care workers, and people aged 70 and over, were offered their jab.
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‘The NHS vaccination programme is the biggest in health service’s history and continues to go from strength to strength,’ said Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director.
‘Hard working NHS staff have already protected more than 15 million of the most vulnerable people against COVID in a matter of weeks. However, if you have already been offered a jab, especially if you’re aged 70 or over, but have not taken it up it is not too late. Please come forward so the NHS can protect you against coronavirus immediately.’
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Last week the NHS began vaccinating people aged 65-69 years old through the national booking service. GPs are currently inviting people who are defined as clinically vulnerable – living with an underlying health condition like chronic kidney or heart disease – to be vaccinated, and people in this group will be contacted by their GP to get their jab.
The news comes as Queen Elizabeth urged the public to ‘think about other people’ and get a COVID vaccine when they are offered one. The Queen, who had a dose in January, said: ‘It was very quick, and I’ve had lots of letters from people who have been surprised by how easy it was to get the vaccine. And the jab – it didn’t hurt at all.’
'It is inspiring to hear Her Majesty, the QNI's Patron, praising the amazing work that has been done to vaccinate so many people so rapidly, in what she calls this 'strange battle',' said Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the Queen's Nursing Institute.
'Community nurses, including Queen's Nurses, have been at the forefront of the campaign in communities everywhere, vaccinating the most vulnerable, in clinics, private homes and care homes, and working to bring vaccinations to people who are experiencing homelessness. As Her Majesty acknowledges, vaccine hesitancy remains to be overcome in some areas, but the evidence is that individual protection against COVID-19 can best be assured if the offer of vaccination is taken up as widely as possible in the adult population.'
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