|Anyone aged 65 to 69 who has not been vaccinated is now being urged to respond to their recent invite to get their life-saving coronavirus vaccine at one of the more than seven vaccination centres and nine pharmacy-led sites across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Due to the continued success of the programme and the availability of supplies, people aged 64 are also set to be called forward this week, NHS England has announced.
Over two thirds of people aged 65-69 have now had their vital first dose, after invites went out a week ago. Everyone in this age group is now eligible to receive the vaccine, with more than one million invitation letters having arrived in homes across England this week, and online bookings open.
Anyone who is aged 65 or over can get an appointment in one of the vaccination centres 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.
The fresh call to those aged 65 to 69 comes as invites for people aged 64 are due to land on doormats across the region later this week, with this group of nearly half a million people nationwide set to be asked initially to book a slot at one of the larger vaccination centres.
Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “NHS staff, volunteers and other partners across Lancashire and South Cumbria 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.
“We continue to be extremely grateful to all our wider partners including Lancashire County Council, Cumbria County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, our district councils, Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, the military, police, local businesses and many more.”
Larger vaccination centres have been opened across the region, including Blackpool Winter Gardens, Blackburn Cathedral, Lancaster Town Hall in addition to sites in Preston, Burnley, Kendal and Ulverston.
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.
People who have received a letter can log on to the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination and choose a large-scale vaccination centre or a pharmacy-led site.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
Although having your NHS number to hand will reduce the booking time, knowing it is not required to get a slot for a jab, as anyone in the top six priority groups identified by the JCVI can book their appointment online or by phone.
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.
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.