People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid and who would like to be are now being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first – and that remains the case for most people.

However, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed here 

or via this link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/

The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them.

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

If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.

Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.

GP teams have been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they have been offered the vaccine.

Anyone who received a letter in 2021 asking them to shield, should also receive an invitation from their local family doctor as well as an invitation from the national booking service inviting them for a jab.

People in priority groups who are given a vaccination appointment by both their local GP team and the National Booking Service should cancel the one they do not want so the slot can be used by someone else.

Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their jab.

NHS England is supporting general practice with an extra £10 for every vaccination given to someone who is housebound.

In under ten weeks, the health service has in England delivered 11 million vaccinations.

Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and practising GP, said: “If you are aged 70 and over, and haven’t yet received your vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment as soon as you can. The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus.”

The call is part of a drive to ensure that everyone in an eligible group has the chance to get protected.

The national booking system allows people to arrange a jab at a Vaccination Centre or pharmacy service.

GP teams are following up with any of their patients they are yet to vaccinate.

Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.

People who do not know their NHS number can still book an appointment through the national system but will only be given an appointment if they are in the top four priority groups.

Vaccines are currently being administered at over 1,500 sites across the country, from mosques and museums to rugby grounds and cathedrals.

Sites have been chosen to ensure that the vast majority of the population live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.

The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus, outside of a clinical trial, when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on the 8 December 2020.

The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, was jabbed on January 4 2021 at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

Question & Answers

Does this mean people can turn up at vaccination services without an appointment?

No. People will still need to make an appointment in advance before going to any vaccination service. This is important because booking slots are carefully managed to allow for social distancing and the number of appointments is based on the supply available that day.

Do I need to know my NHS number to use the booking website/phone line?

No. It’s easier if you do have your NHS number, but if you don’t both the NHS booking website and phone line can still book appointments using other details, provided you are registered with a GP practice.

You can find your NHS number on the NHS App or at www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number

If I’ve already had my first dose will I be able to book my second in this way?

No. You will only be able to book if our records show you have yet to have your first dose. If you have already had your first dose, please wait for the NHS to contact you about your second.

What if I don’t live close to one of the large Vaccination Centres?

The National Booking Service also handles booking for pharmacy-led vaccination services, of which there are around 200 across the country. Only a small number of people don’t live within travelling distance of at least one of these services.

Alternatively, you can also choose to wait to be contacted by your local GP services. If they haven’t been in contact already, this will be soon.

Does the NHS have the capacity and supplies available if lots of people now book?

The vast majority of people in these groups have already either had their first dose or are booked in to be vaccinated shortly.

The NHS is confident that the supplies and booking slots are available to accommodate the expected number of people who may now come forward.

Why have I not been contacted by anyone about a vaccination?

If you are 70 or over or on the Shielded Patient List, then you it is likely that you have been contacted by the NHS already. If you haven’t, this could be for a number of reasons, but is most likely to be because you are not registered with a GP or have recently moved, and we therefore don’t have your contact details.

If you have never registered with a GP or haven’t been to a GP for a number of years, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.

As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease, and can access care easier when you need it.

More information on registering with a GP is available at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/

Will this approach also apply to the next priority groups when it is their turn to be vaccinated?

No. For the moment this only applies to people aged 70 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

When the time comes to start vaccinating other priority groups, this will be by invitation only so that we can manage the supplies of vaccines available in the fairest possible way.

How do I get an NHS number?

You may already have an NHS number but just don’t know it. If you don’t know your NHS number, you can find out if you have one and what it is at: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-number

If you don’t have an NHS number this is likely to be because you are not registered with a GP. If this is the case, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.

As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease, and can access care easier when you need it.

More information on registering with a GP is available at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/

What if I book an appointment through the NHS website or 119 and I need to rearrange it?

If you need to rearrange an appointment that you booked through the NHS website, you can do this through the ‘manage your appointments’ section on the booking page.

If you booked through 119, you can also ring to rearrange your appointment.

If you can’t attend your appointment for any reason, please cancel or rearrange it so that the appointment slot can be given to someone else who needs it.

Can I still book if I previously had an appointment but didn’t attend or cancel it?

Yes. Only those who have had a vaccination recorded are marked on our system and are therefore unable to book again.

A letter came to my home but it was for someone else. Can I still use it to book an appointment?

No. Unless you are aged 70 or over or on the Shielded Patients List you will not be able to book an appointment.

If you receive a letter for someone who does not live at your address anymore, please return to sender in the usual way so that our records can be updated.