People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID and who would like to be are being urged to contact the NHS to arrange a vaccination.

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. However, to ensure everyone is offered the vaccine, over-70s 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. The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them.

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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, NHS England has confirmed.

Additionally, 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,” NHS England states.

Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, are encouraged to 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: “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.”

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.

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