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People aged over 70 now urged to contact NHS for the Covid-19 vaccine

People in Kent aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 are today 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.

Everyone aged over 70 is now being urged to contact the NHS for their vaccine
Everyone aged over 70 is now being urged to contact the NHS for their vaccine

But, 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 new arrangement was announced during tonight's press conference, led by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

It comes as the health service in the UK has now delivered 12 million vaccinations.

Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and practising GP, said: "The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is off to a strong start with every eligible care home receiving a visit and millions more people being vaccinated at one of over 1,500 centres across the country thanks to the tireless efforts of my colleagues.

"But 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."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Picture by Mark Westley
Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Picture by Mark Westley

Mr Hancock added: "Thanks to the huge efforts of the NHS, volunteers and local authorities we have vaccinated an incredible 12 million vulnerable people so far - including around nine in 10 of all over-70s.

"We are on track to meet our goal of offering everyone in the top four priority groups a jab.

"So far we have said please wait until the NHS contacts you. I now urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to book in their jab.

"And if you have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus.

"Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together."

12 million people have been vaccinated so far
12 million people have been vaccinated so far

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

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at nhs.uk/covid-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.

During the briefing, Mr Hancock also touched upon the new variants of coronavirus that have developed.

He said the UK is doing three things to tackle mutations; the existing vaccines have some effect against variants, including preventing serious illness and death, working with vaccine suppliers for potential booster jabs targeted at the new variants and creating UK capacity and technology to develop and deploy vaccines in the future.

Mr Hancock added: "We mustn't let a new variant undo all of the good work that the vaccine rollout is doing."

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